Winning new clients and paying down its bank borrowings to help reduce interest costs have also helped to keep profit before exceptional items “well ahead” of last year, according to yesterday’s brief trading update for the period from 30 June to date. Chairman Archie Hunter said: “Demand and raw material pricing continue to be challenging, however our priorities are to maintain sales growth momentum and restore margins, whilst maintaining tight cost control.
“Macfarlane Group has a strong platform to enable it to deal with the uncertain demand levels caused by current economic conditions.
“Although we remain cautious over predictions in the current uncertain environment, the board expects that group results for 2011 will remain in line with its expectations,” he added.
Hector Forsythe, an analyst at house broker Oriel Securities, said: “It’s a robust overall performance that shows a focus on growth and returns.”
In the company’s packaging distribution arm, sales are 8 per cent ahead of 2010 through a combination of 2 per cent volume growth and 6 per cent price rises.