30 APRIL 2003

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Farsons profits soar 75 per cent despite weak market conditions

The Farsons Group has reported a 75.34 per cent increase in profits for last year, with profits reaching Lm1,038,000. Turnover, meanwhile, was up by 3.2 per cent and hit Lm23.6 million.
Commenting on the positive results, Group Chief Executive Louis A. Farrugia remarked how the remarkable improvement was achieved despite the fact that, in general terms, last year’s domestic consumer demand had not been particularly robust, while tourism arrivals were slightly down.
"We achieved our profit increase through increased market share in our import business, as well as through managing to contain costs throughout our business, in particular in our fast food business, which was restructured last year," Farrugia explains.
Parent company Simonds Farsons Cisk increased its turnover by over Lm0.5 million to Lm15,532,000, while the turnover of the Group’s import business reached Lm4.8 million, representing an increase of 5.5 per cent over the previous year. Both Wands Ltd and Anthony Caruana & Sons Limited have grown by taking on the challenge of the growing demand for imported brands and the liberalisation of the market place.
Food Chain Group reported a much-improved financial performance following the restructuring of the operations carried out in January 2002.
Last year the Group acquired the remaining 30 per cent shareholding in Eco-Pure Premium Water Company from American Liquid Packaging Systems to make this Company a fully owned subsidiary of the Group.
Sliema Fort Co. Ltd, which owns the lease of Il-Fortizza in Sliema, is now a fully owned subsidiary following the acquisition of the 50 per cent shareholding from Island Hotels Group. The plan to consolidate all the Group’s properties, outside the industrial land and building the Group uses for brewing and bottling operations, under Trident Developments Ltd has been completed and the company is producing very encouraging results.
Mr Farrugia also touched upon the diversity the Group has developed, explaining how Farsons is no longer just a brewery or a soft drinks bottler but a diversified group in the beer, beverage, food retailing, leisure and property management business. Local brewing and bottling of beverages now account for just over 60 per cent of the Group Turnover with the remaining 40 per cent coming from non-manufacturing activities.
The Directors of Simonds Farsons Cisk plc have already declared and distributed a net interim dividend of Lm70,000 to share holders of ordinary shares and are recommending the payment of a final net dividend of Lm390,000. These dividends are being paid out of tax exempt profits resulting in a total dividend of Lm460,000 equivalent to 1c8 per share.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, 2 Cali House, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann SGN 02, Malta
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