Farsons Group CEO Norman Aquilina on Thursday stated that the group has met its financial projections for the year ending 31st January 2023 despite having to battle through the various macroeconomic challenges that the period brought with it.
This came as the group released its Annual Report and financial statements for the year ending 31st January 2023, in which it announced a pre-tax profit of €15.3 million, a 25.4 per cent increase from the previous year’s €12.2 million. Farsons Group’s turnover for the year reached €118.2 million, representing a rise of 28.8 per cent from last year’s figure, with improved revenue generated from all its operations. This includes brewing, production and sale of branded beers and beverages, importation, wholesale and retail of food and beverages, and also the operation of franchised food retailing establishments. Selling and distribution costs, together with administrative expenses were both on the rise, going up to €13.3 million (2022: €10.7 million) and €14.3 million (2022: €11 million), respectively.
The group’s total equity expanded by 7.7 per cent from the previous year’s €129.2 million up to €139.2 million at the end of last January, largely as a result of the improved financial results and a higher starting equity balance.
Encouraged by the results achieved during the year, the Board of Directors will be recommending a final dividend of €3.96 million to shareholders, equivalent to €0.11 per share, at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting, to be held on 15th June 2023 at the Trident Park Conference Hall. Together with the interim dividend of €1.62 million (€0.045 per share), this will make for total dividends in respect of the financial year ending 31st January 2023 of €5.58 million or €0.155 per share.
Commenting on the group’s performance, Chairman Louis A. Farrugia said: “Once again we are able to report improved results. We have achieved this because of the dedication of our workforce to the job at hand.”
“Farsons has managed to adapt its work practices and culture to the times we live in without in any way compromising our values and our commitment to quality. We produce or import, market and sell many different consumer products. Over the years we have built a bond of trust with our partners and principals, and earned our reputation of being both reliable and responsible,” he said.
He also commended all of Farsons Group’s employees for their “hard work, commitment, and success”.
The group’s improved results are significant given the particularly challenging global macroeconomic and geopolitical developments which it had to navigate through during the year. These include the impact of the war in Ukraine and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, to which the group was highly exposed because of the pandemic’s impact on the hospitality and entertainment industry. However, the group still managed to increase its volumes across various beverage and food categories.
Farsons Group CEO Norman Aquilina remarked that these challenges, coupled with an “increasingly tight labour market”, all contributed to an “already volatile macroeconomic environment”.
“Despite having had to navigate through another turbulent year, we delivered on our financial projections, registering an improved set of results. In the face of adversity, we have demonstrated resilience and commitment by responding with a number of defensive and proactive measures resulting in solid growth, with all companies within the group contributing to this solid performance,” he added.
In the year under review, the group registered a particularly strong performance in its production of beer and other beverages, together with the importation of foods and drinks.
He noted that the group’s overall improved performance was “predominantly achieved” as a result of added focus on execution, better balancing out its scale with agility, and also a step-up in both productivity and reach to market, as well as ongoing investments in its brands.
“Encompassing all this, we adopted a proactive approach to pricing, apart from the continued and disciplined implementation of cost efficiency and more rigorous procurement so as to mitigate prevailing inflationary pressures. We also allocated our resources with greater focus and prioritisation,” Mr Aquilina explained.
Over the past years, Farsons Group has also been heavily engaged in the redevelopment of its old brewery. The Brewhouse represents a “significant milestone” in the group’s development, together with The Brewhouse Visitor Experience. The brewery will also be hosting the group’s new craft beer venture. The installation and commissioning of a microbrewery was completed in July 2022 with the assistance of a Caspary brew master.
Looking ahead, he noted that retaining its competitiveness within both a local and international context remains “at the heart” of all of Farsons Group’s strategic priorities. “This can best be maintained by staying focused on our customers and increasing efficiency through a continuous improvement mindset,” he added.
“Unlocking the full potential of our people and the organisation, whilst creating a more inclusive and engaging workplace remain critical for our competitiveness. Likewise, the importance of succession planning is key to ensure progressive business continuity,” he continued.
Mr Aquilina proceeded to thank the group’s workforce and management team, as the results were possible through their “hard work and great effort”. He also thanked the Board and particularly Mr Farrugia, “whose experience, guidance and ongoing support” have always served the group well.
“Despite the significant challenges, we are building on the momentum of this year’s financial results and are taking on the future with renewed ambition and confidence in our strategy. All this is what will differentiate us and make us real enablers as we continuously endeavour to improve our competitiveness and position ourselves to navigate through the future in the best way possible,” he concluded.
Established since 1928, Farsons Group is engaged in the brewing, production and sale and distribution of branded beers and beverages, the importation, wholesale and retail of food and beverages including wines and spirits, the operation of franchised food retailing establishments and property development. It has a wide portfolio of food and beverage brands, and is a long-standing partner of some of the world’s leading groups in the area. It is made up of Simonds Farsons Cisk plc, Farsons Beverage Imports Company Limited, Food Chain Limited, Quintano Foods Limited, EcoPure Limited and Trident Estates Limited.
Farsons Group CEO Norman Aquilina
He has been replaced by Frank Heinänen, with effect from the start of June.
As COO, she will be responsible to build out the company’s capabilities.
He officially begins the new role on 1st July 2023.
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