CEO Chris Holmes said it had been an exceptional year for Carr's with strong trading across all divisions and with pre-tax profit set to more than double.
He went on: “We are benefiting from market share gains in both feed and fertiliser, seeing strong underlying trading in our retail business and improved margins in flour. In addition, in 2008 we have benefited from significant one off inventory and foreign exchange gains totalling £4 million in our agriculture division. We enter the new financial year with confidence in underlying trading."
In the second half of the financial year, Carr's enjoyed very strong trading, particularly in agriculture, much the largest of the group's three divisions.
As recently as July, Carr's said it expected pre-tax profit for the year to 30 August to be in excess of £9.2 million on revenue of at least £330 million; at the beginning of August, it upped it’s expectation to be “substantially in excess of £9.2 million”. Now, it says it expects that the profit before tax will be no less than £12.5 million (2007: £5.5m), on revenue of approximately £350 milion (2007: £253m).
Carlisle-based Carr's also announced today that it was raising around £2.7 million through a new institutional share placing to fund, in part, the additional working capital requirements of the increased levels of revenues and profits.
Carr's agriculture division comprises compound and blended animal feed, low moisture animal feed blocks, fertiliser, farm machinery and supplies, and fuel oil. The food operation principally comprises flour milling, supplying mainly biscuit manufacturers, plant bakers and speciality food ingredient companies. The two principal engineering companies are Bendalls, whose specialism is precision welding, and Carr's MSM, which manufactures master slave manipulators, key components for the nuclear industry.