SILAGE wrap, plastics and packaging is never going to be glamorous. It is right down there with sewage, aggregates and the more recondite reaches of IT support services in terms of the corporately mundane. But British Polythene Industries, the Scottish plastics and polymers group, has shown consistently that, done well, the sector is reliably cash-generative, with decent returns for investors.
BPI has just produced its sixth consecutive year of increased profits, even after taking a significant hit in 2014 from the weakness of the euro, and the dividend gets another double-digit hike.
Volumes were up for the second year running, BPI’s management is confident that could continue this year, the company’s borrowings are well down, and it has the capital to spend £20 million a year on upgrading its plants.
The plastic stretch wrapping for the fodder you see on Britain’s farms from out of the train window and from the car window driving down a country lane, may lack stardust.
But it has certainly given an understated sheen to the Greenock-based company’s top and bottom lines in recent years, the group claiming to be global market leader in the area, exporting to 40 countries from its manufacturing plants in the UK, Europe and Canada.
BPI has also shown the capacity for both organic and acquisitive growth, so there is a flexible strategy, and one senses there is little in a not overly-complicated industry that could surprise a very experienced management team.
Thinking outside the Ibrox directors’ box
In terms of corporate governance (no, behave) Rangers Football Club has turned into a sort of reality TV show. People keep wanting to get other people slung out of the big stadium.
The machinations are baffling, the changes of personnel breakneck. City of London grandee David Somers has now stepped down as chairman days ahead of a “crunch” meeting (is there any other sort at the publicly quoted club?) of investors He says the world of football management is crazy.
We have the activist Three Bears, we have maverick 9 per cent investor Mike Ashley. Roll on the second half.
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