Monday, July 6, 2020

Sales grow at Chesterfield packaging firm despite challenging market conditions

Robinson plc, the custom manufacturer of plastic and paperboard packaging headquartered in Chesterfield, has seen sales grow 5% in the first half of the year despite challenging market conditions, with the COVID-19 pandemic presenting both challenges and opportunities for the business.

Outside of Chesterfield the company, which currently employs around 320 people, has operations in Kirkby in Ashfield, Sutton in Ashfield, Wheatbridge and Poland.

Formerly a family business, Robinson’s origins date back over 181 years.

Operating primarily within the food, household, drink, confectionery, cosmetic and toiletry sectors, the firm works with brands such as Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson, and McBride.

Chairman, Alan Raleigh, said: “We are pleased to report sales growth of 5% in first half of the year compared with 2019 despite challenging market conditions. Margins have maintained the momentum experienced in the second half of 2019 and operating costs were at a similar level with a consequent increase in operating profits.

“Net debt has reduced to currently £6m from the 2019 year end of £7m, after capital expenditure of £2m as we continue to invest in new and upgraded facilities and plant to secure future growth.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented both challenges and opportunities for the business. End consumer demand for the products for which we supply packaging has resulted in some ups and down with a net positive effect on sales. We have successfully managed to keep our manufacturing operations safely running through the dedicated efforts of our employees. We still have no known positive cases amongst our workforce.

“The pandemic has, however, slowed down progress with selling our surplus properties due to the inability to conclude site inspections during the lockdown and volatility in the UK housing sector. Consequently, we expect delays of at least 6 months to previously indicated timescales.

“Whilst the outlook for the year remains uncertain, we are confident the business can prosper, and we continue to explore and develop the opportunities that will emerge.

“In March we decided, because of the uncertainties facing the business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not to declare a final dividend in respect of 2019 to conserve cash. As we have gained greater clarity on the impact on the business, the Board is pleased to effectively re-instate this and announces a first FY20 interim dividend of 3.5p (2018 equivalent final: 3.5p) to be paid on 30 July 2020 to shareholders on the register at 10 July 2020 (record date). The ordinary shares ex-dividend date is 9 July 2020.”

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