Lucas Bols, solid H1 performance with 23% revenue growth despite global supply challenges.

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Overig advies 17/11/2022 08:40
Dividend distribution resumed

Revenue came in at € 56.3 million, a strong year-on-year growth of 23% driven by volume, pricing and exchange rate fluctuations
Most key markets reported strong double-digit revenue growth. Japan and travel-related markets showed a robust recovery, while US sales were negatively impacted by severe, industry-wide glass shortages
Depletions (sales by distributors) were up 5% compared to H1 21/22, with strong in-market performance in Japan, Australia and Western European markets
Gross margin of 55.2% (H1 21/22: 56.6%) was impacted by accelerating input cost inflation, largely offset by price increases, positive exchange rate fluctuations and mix effects
Operating profit landed at € 11.3 million (in line with H1 21/22). Better trading results were offset by intensified brand investments and much higher logistics costs, resulting from a temporary move of production for the US market to the Netherlands. Overhead costs as a percentage of revenue remain at low levels. Net profit came in 2% higher at € 7.9 million
Glass shortages in the US adversely impacted US sales and logistic costs while global supply challenges required substantial working capital investments. This limited free operating cash flow to € 2.8 million (H1 21/22: € 11.4 million)
Net debt was further reduced (to € 59.2 million) with a solid leverage ratio of 2.62x versus 4.86x a year ago and 2.74x at the end of 21/22
The Tequila Partida integration has been successfully completed, with a substantial number of additional points of distribution achieved
Dividend distribution will be resumed with an interim cash dividend of € 0.21 per share
In October 2022 we announced the intended sale of our 50% share in Avandis to Refresco
The global environment remains unpredictable and certain challenges are expected to intensify in the second half of 22/23, but we remain confident in the strategic opportunities for our brands and continue to invest for growth

Huub van Doorne, CEO of Lucas Bols:“After the excellent performance in the 21/22 financial year we continued to build strong momentum for our brands in the first half of 22/23. We are pleased with the further recovery and growth of our key markets and brands. Our growth strategy (based on our cocktail proposition, investments behind our Global Cocktail Brands and the ongoing premiumisation of our sales) is delivering according to plan. The solid top-line growth shows that we can deliver on our cocktail-focused strategic plan, even in challenging circumstances. Although our business in the US market was heavily impacted by the industry-wide glass shortages in the first half of the financial year, the underlying trends remain promising, further fuelled by the addition of Tequila Partida and the introduction of the Bols Ready-to-Enjoy Cocktails portfolio.

The solid first-half performance was also driven by the recovery in Japan and travel-related markets as well as the sustained growth in Western Europe and Australia/New Zealand. Furthermore, top-line growth benefited notably from the ongoing premiumisation of our portfolio as strategic marketing initiatives combined with price increases and the addition of ultra-premium brand Tequila Partida are paying off.

To minimise the short- and mid-term impact of the US glass shortages and global supply challenges we have deliberately invested in working capital, accepting that this would temporarily soften cash flows substantially. I am proud of how our teams and partners have worked together to maximise the availability of our brands for our customers in such unprecedented supply chain circumstances.

We are pleased to resume dividend payments to our shareholders with an interim dividend of € 0.21 per share.

Looking at the second half of the 22/23 financial year we expect an ongoing (and in certain cases intensifying) challenging environment, with geopolitical tensions, significant cost inflation and an expected weakening of consumer purchasing power. Nevertheless, we remain positive about the underlying potential of our brands and the mid-term growth strategy we have put in place.”

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