BPI upbeat after improved profits haul

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Plastics manufacturer British Polythene Industries (BPI) said it has a clear path to growth in the years ahead as it surprised investors by reporting higher profits for last year.

The Greenock-based firm hailed a “good performance achieved in a challenging economic environment” as it revealed that operating profit increased to £22.5 million in 2012, from £21.6m in 2011, despite adverse currency movements.

It said the ongoing trend towards thinner plastic bags and sheeting used in industry and agriculture meant its volumes were lower year-on-year. Sales were also down from £508m to £479m, as the improved materials provided a benefit to both the company and its customers.

Chief executive John Langlands said the company had ditched some of its least profitable lines and concentrated its business on “resilient” markets such as agriculture, food retail and healthcare.

He said the company stood ready to invest wherever it saw the opportunity of growth or efficiency gains.

Chairman Cameron McLatchie said: “We have seen an improving trend in the returns from our UK business as well as a continued strong performance from our European business.

“The prospects for 2013 look equally good and, with the current capital investment targeting resilient and sustainable markets, prospects for growth in 2014 and beyond are now clear.”