BPI eyes strong second half as profits rise 14%

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PACKAGING specialist British Polythene Industries (BPI) hiked its interim dividend yesterday after investment in its European operations helped profits grow by 17 per cent.

The Greenock-based group reported pre-tax profits of £14.1 million in the first six months of the year, up from £12.1m in the first half of 2012.

It said the improvement could be attributed to an “excellent performance” from its European business, with smaller improvements in North America and the UK.

Chief executive John Langlands said the firm had managed to improve its sales despite “flat or lacklustre” demand across its markets. “This is a good set of results in what remain challenging conditions,” he said. “We’ve had no help at all from the general markets, in terms of volumes and growth.”

Instead, the Scottish firm has felt the benefit from improvements to its factory in Belgium, allowing it to bring out new products for its agricultural and food retail chain customers, Langlands said.

He added: We are going to continue to invest. We see further opportunities to develop new silage products.”

Langlands said capital expenditure was set to remain at about £20m a year in 2014.

BPI raised its interim dividend by 7 per cent to 4.5p.

John Lawson, an analyst at Investec, highlighted that BPI’s second half has also started well, with most operations reportedly well ahead of the same time last year. He re-iterated his “buy” recommendation on the shares and lifted his target price from 600p to 635p.