Solid improvement in free operating cash flow
Revenue came in at € 55.7 million, close to the strong H1 22/23 level
Depletions fell 1%, a solid performance given the challenging environment
Growth in markets such as the US, Japan and Spain was offset by slower sales in Western European retail markets
The gross margin improved by 420bps compared to H2 22/23 (to 51.4%) due to sales price increases but was still below H1 22/23 (55.2%) when the impact of input cost inflation was still limited. Gross profit per case shows ongoing growth: +6% vs. the 22/23 financial year
Normalised operating profit was € 11.6 million, slightly higher than a year ago (€ 11.3 million). The decrease in gross profit was more than offset by lower logistics and other costs
Free operating cash flow (excluding the Nuvo acquisition) improved significantly, to € 7.5 million (H1 22/23: € 2.8 million), reflecting a 61% cash conversion ratio (H1 22/23: 23%)
Net debt increased slightly to € 61.0 million following the acquisition of the Nuvo brand (€ 5.3 million) and the 22/23 dividend payment. The leverage ratio came in at 3.49x
Good progress is made on the preparations for the intended recommended public offer by the Nolet Group for all the issued and outstanding shares in the capital of Lucas Bols for € 18.- per share (cum dividend) jointly announced on 9 October 2023
In light of that intended public offer no interim dividend will be paid
Huub van Doorne, CEO of the Lucas Bols Company: “Despite a volatile environment, the top-line performance was solid this first half year with revenue close to the strong level achieved in the same period last year in which we achieved double-digit growth. Our brands showed resilience, especially in view of the economic slowdown in several regions and the continued high levels of inflation. In general we are also observing that customers are reducing their stock levels in response to a rapid increase in the cost of capital. This is expected to lead to destocking in the second half of the financial year.
We expect the environment to remain challenging but continue to aim for full-year revenue growth. The gross margin should stabilise now that sales price increases are phasing in.
Although we remain vigilant for possible supply chain disruptions, we plan to reduce our inventory levels, paving the way for further free operating cash flow improvements.
We announced our more explicit and integrated ESG strategy in the 22/23 Annual Report. Our teams and business partners are really engaged and already started working on the implementation of the various initiatives.
We are also pleased with the progress on the intended recommended public offer by the Nolet Group.”
231116 Lucas Bols persbericht halfjaarcijfers 2324.pdf