BPI upbeat as volumes and divi jump again

Cameron McLatchie. Picture: Contributed

Cameron McLatchie. Picture: Contributed

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PLASTICS and packaging firm British Polythene Industries, the world’s biggest producer of silage wrap for the farming industry, has boosted its overall volumes for the second consecutive year and flagged its optimism for 2015.

John Langlands, chief executive of the Greenock-based group, unveiling a 20 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to £22.2 million in 2014, said: “I think we will continue to see growth this year, driven by the recovery in construction volumes in the UK and agricultural volumes in our European business.”

The profits advance from £18.5m in 2013 came despite BPI taking a €900,000 (£657,000) currency hit due to the weakness of the European single currency. Total volumes rose more than 1 per cent to 274,000 tonnes.

Langlands said that BPI, like many British companies, had benefited from lower raw material costs from the slump in the oil price since last summer.

He said the business continued to upgrade its worldwide plants at a cost of about £20m a year to improve production lines and quality of service for its customers. However, actual expenditure was less at £16.6m last year as some major projects fell over into 2015.

The company is the global leader in silage stretch wrap, which stores grass for farmers in more than 40 countries. Borrowings at BPI reduced to £24m from £30m in 2014, giving headroom for both investment in existing plant and acquisitions, Langlands said.

“As long as we see projects that can give us an (acceptable) financial return we will continue to invest. We are also in a position that we can look at acquisitions again, but there are businesses out there that we would not always want to buy,” he added.

BPI has increased its final dividend 10 per cent to 11p from 10p, giving a total payout of 16p compared with 14.5p in 2013.

Chairman Cameron McLatchie commented: “We anticipate a much better year in North America, continued progress in the UK, and another good performance in Europe and we look forward to the remainder of 2015.”

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