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RNS
Churchill China PLC   -  CHH   

Preliminary Results

Released 07:00 27-Mar-2019

RNS Number : 0996U
Churchill China PLC
27 March 2019
 

For immediate release

27 March 2019

 

 

 

CHURCHILL CHINA plc

("Churchill China" or the "Company" or the "Group")

 

PRELIMINARY RESULTS

For the year ended 31 December 2018

 

Churchill China plc (AIM: CHH), the manufacturer of innovative performance ceramic products serving hospitality markets worldwide, is pleased to announce its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2018.

 

Key Highlights:

 

Financial

·     Group revenue up 7% to £57.5m (2017: £53.5m)

·     Operating profit before exceptional items up 24% to £9.2m (2017: £7.5m)

·     Profit before exceptional items and  tax up 26% to £9.4m (2017: £7.5m)

·     Reported profit before tax after exceptional items £8.8m (2017: £7.8m)

·     Adjusted earnings per share up 26% to 69.6p (2017: 55.3p)

·     Basic earnings per share 65.6p (2017: 58.4p)

·     Proposed final dividend up 18% to 20.3p (2017: 17.2p)

·     Cash generated from operations £8.3m (2017: £7.7m)

 

Business

·     Hospitality revenue growth 10% (2017: 8%)

·     Group export revenues up 17% (2017: 16%)

·     Exports now represent 60% (2017: 55%) of Group revenue

·     Further increase in added value product sales

·     Performance continues long term growth trend

·     Good progress against key strategic objectives

 

Alan McWalter, Chairman of Churchill China, commented:

 

'2018 has been a very successful year for Churchill, we have exceeded our expectations in relation to business and financial performance. 2019 has started well and we believe that we can make further progress.'

 

For further information, please contact:

Churchill China plc

Tel: 01782 577566

David O'Connor / David Taylor




Buchanan

Tel: 020 7466 5000

Mark Court / Sophie Wills




N+1 Singer

Tel: 0207 496 3000

Richard Lindley / Rachel Hayes

 


 

 


This announcement contains information which, prior to its disclosure, was considered inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 (MAR)



CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT

Introduction

 

I am, once again, pleased to report another strong performance from our business in the year. We have increased our revenue by 7%, our operating profits and our profits before exceptional items by 24% and 26% respectively. This performance clearly demonstrates the continued success of our strategic approach. Progress has again been made in growing our export revenues and in a further conversion of our output to innovative and higher margin added value products.

 

However, we believe that simply focussing on a single year's performance does not fully reflect the strength of our business or the transformation achieved in our operations over the longer term. Our business has developed substantially over the last five years from 2013 in line with our business strategy. Sales to Hospitality customers have increased from £32.7m to £52.4m at a compound annual rate of almost 10%, with Group exports rising from 39% to 60% of our business. The proportion of Hospitality revenue represented by added value products with higher margins has risen from 10% to 44%, with a consequent increase in operating margin from 8% to over 16%.

 

The trading environment in the UK, alongside that of many businesses, is subject to increased uncertainty, but we believe we have a robust business model. Our plans will evolve, but we will continue to emphasise growth in export markets where there is a significant opportunity to improve our market share and in further development of innovative products which offer outstanding value to our customers. We have the capacity to deliver the investment needed to implement these plans and to sustain long term value growth for our shareholders.

 

Financial Review

 

Total revenues increased by 7% to £57.5m (2017: £53.5m) with further strong growth in Hospitality export revenues more than offsetting lower Retail sales. UK revenues were 4% lower at £23.0m (2017: £24.0m) with the reduction largely attributable to more difficult retail markets. Export revenues were £5.0m higher (+17%) at £34.5m (2017: £29.5m).

 

Gross margins have again improved as we continued to grow sales of added value product.

 

Operating profit before exceptional items increased by 24% to £9.2m (2017: £7.5m). Operating margins  before exceptional items improved to 16.1% (2017: 13.9%). Operating profit benefitted from increased revenues, the continued move towards added value, differentiated, products and from a stable cost base.

 

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased by 20% to £10.9m (2017: £9.1m).

 

Profit before exceptional items and income tax rose by 26% to £9.4m (2017: £7.5m), largely as a result of our strong operating performance, but with some additional contribution from an improved performance from our associated company Furlong Mills and higher interest receipts. In the five years to the end of 2018 we have increased profit before income tax at a compound rate of 22% per annum.

 

Adjusted earnings per share improved by 26% to 69.6p (2017: 55.3p).

 

Changes in the law relating to the equalisation of statutory Guaranteed Minimum Pensions benefits will affect our legacy defined benefit pension scheme. Accordingly, a one off exceptional non-cash charge of £0.6m has been provided in 2018 reflecting the cumulative effect of these changes. Additionally, sums previously provided for costs relating to the disposal of property which are no longer required have been released, generating an exceptional credit to profit of £0.1m. In 2017 we disposed of a surplus property, the profit on disposal of £0.3m was also treated as exceptional.

Reported profit before tax rose to £8.8m from £7.8m in 2017.

Basic earnings per share, including the above exceptional items, improved by 11% to 65.0p (2017: 58.4p)

We have also continued to generate good operating cash flows, operating cash generation was £8.3m (2017: £7.7m). Working capital requirements were higher than last year at £1.5m (2017: £0.2m) reflecting an increase in accounts receivable on higher sales. Inventory levels remained controlled despite higher sales, a wider product range and good customer service. The cash spend on capital projects was £2.1m (2017: £2.2m). We expect capital spend to rise in 2019 as we continue to invest in capacity, capability and efficiency. At the year end, net cash and deposit balances had risen by £1.8m to £17.4m (2017: £15.6m). 

 

Dividend

 

The Board is recommending an 18% increase in the final dividend to 20.3p per share (2017: 17.2p) giving a total of 29.0p for the year (2017: 24.6p). We are pleased that the sustained growth in profitability and continued cash generation has allowed us to raise the dividend. If approved, the final dividend will be paid on 24 May 2019 to shareholders on the register on 26 April 2019, with the ex-dividend date being 25 April 2019.

 

Business

 

Our business has performed strongly across the year. The good progress reported in the first half has been matched by further progress in the second half. We have grown our sales in Hospitality and particularly in export and much of this increase has come from added value products. We have continued to reduce our exposure to less attractive Retail markets. Exports now represent 60% of Group revenues.

 

Total sales to our Hospitality customers increased by £5.0m (10%) and reached a new record of £52.4m (2017: £47.4m). Hospitality sales now represent over 90% of Group revenue.

 

We have continued to grow our position in overseas markets whilst maintaining a leading position within the UK. Overall export sales grew by 19% despite a slight headwind from currency. Over the last five years our Hospitality export sales have risen by an average of over 20% per year. Growth has again been strongest in Europe with continued progress in most countries. Our early stage investment in Rest of the World markets is also beginning to gain traction and we are pleased with the rate of growth in developing regions.

 

Our performance in the UK has stabilised following a much improved performance in the second half of 2018. We revised our approach to the UK in 2017 to reflect changing market dynamics by increasing management focus and targeting new product introductions. We are pleased with the progress made. Our established market position means we benefit from a consistent level of replacement sales.

 

Churchill's core values are innovation, technical performance and service. The strength of our established relationships with end users, distributors and agents in the UK and worldwide continues to be of great value to the business.

 

Our increased profitability reflects both growth in revenue and particularly a further shift of our product range towards added value products. We carefully research market requirements and develop new products to meet these needs which allow us to improve our margins whilst offering substantial value to our customers. Sales of added value products now represent over 44% of our Hospitality sales. Whilst Stonecast continues to be the stand out performer, our Studio Prints range, combining innovative materials with our existing print capability, continues to grow strongly.  Our innovative market offer is increasingly differentiated from our closest competitors.

 

Retail operations have again reduced in scale as we have withdrawn from certain sectors of the UK market which have become unprofitable. Revenues were lower at £5.1m (2017: £6.1m).

 

Operations

 

The changes in our business create additional demands on our operational team and we have worked hard to ensure that the manufacturing strategy is closely aligned with our business plan. During the year we increased the capacity and efficiency of our added value product manufacturing and completed projects improving the flexibility of our production process. This allows us to balance the challenge of producing wider product range and maintaining cost and service levels.

 

We expect to increase the level of investment in manufacturing in 2019. Expenditure on a further factory extension and on an additional fast fire kiln have already been approved and we expect to make progress on these and other projects over the year.

 

Our Production and Technical teams have delivered substantial additional value during the year. Our traditional strength of efficient and effective manufacturing continues to serve us well, but has been supplemented by significant progress in other areas. Our capacity to innovate new products has been significantly improved by the production re-engineering and materials development work carried out over the longer term

 

Furlong Mills

 

In February 2019 we announced the acquisition of a further 9.5% of the equity of Furlong Mills Limited for £454,000, taking our percentage shareholding to 55.6%. Furlong is a ceramic materials manufacturer based in Stoke on Trent and provides processed clay body and glaze to Churchill and other major manufacturers. Our investment secures a very important part of our supply chain and over the longer term reinforces our capacity to extend our technical ceramics capability. We have held an investment in Furlong for almost forty years and are pleased to now hold a larger interest.

 

Brexit

 

We have reviewed Churchill's exposure to various Brexit scenarios. A major part of our revenue is earned outside the UK and our manufacturing process, in part, relies upon materials and equipment sourced from overseas.

 

Our detailed Brexit planning is ongoing and we believe we have identified and developed plans to mitigate the effect of disruption on our trading model. We have completed a number of projects including securing and stocking an outbound logistics facility in the Netherlands to service our European business, improving our systems and establishing larger safety stocks of key raw materials. We have also developed detailed contingency plans in other areas. The UK government has recently announced that import tariff levels on most ceramic tableware products remain at 2018 levels.  Our plans are founded on our core principles which are the provision of value to our customers and maintenance of a high level of service. 

 

Whilst these actions may not fully offset all the effects of the Brexit process we believe that we have prepared for the forward uncertainty sensibly and that we have the flexibility to manage the level of risk to our business.

 

People

 

During the year we have made significant progress in improving the alignment of our workforce with our business plans. We have focused on training, both in terms of operational skills and the personal development of our employees. The continuous improvement programme continues to deliver substantial benefits to the business both in terms of productivity and delivering more rewarding roles to our staff. We have increased the level of engagement within our workforce and have invested time in establishing development and succession plans at all levels of the business. One of the major objectives in our forward plan is to ensure that we have the right people across our business to meet our aspirations.

 

Our workforce is skilled, loyal and well motivated and they create and embody the core values that serve us well. Once again I am grateful for their effort and commitment across the year.

 

Prospects

 

2018 has been a very successful year for Churchill; we have exceeded our expectations in relation to business and financial performance and the growth we have achieved sits well in relation to our longer term progress. I am, however, most pleased by the manner in which we have delivered this performance, which is wholly in line with our strategic objectives. The progress we have made in moving the focus of our business towards Hospitality and export markets, the increased margin we achieve from innovative and differentiated products and the significant reinvestment of this profit in further development all follow the path we established several years ago.  We believe that this will be the basis of continued success in the future.

 

2019 has started well and we believe that we can, subject to external conditions, make further progress. However, we remain a business focussed on the long term. Churchill has a robust and well invested business model supported by a strong financial position. Our market and product development plans continue to deliver profitable opportunities for growth and to create value for our business and all its stakeholders.

 

 

 

Alan McWalter

Chairman

26 March 2019



 

Churchill China plc






Consolidated Income Statement





for the year ended 31 December 2018

 








Audited


Audited





Year to


Year to





31 December 2018


31 December 2017





£000


£000




Note




Revenue



1

57,479


53,530








Operating profit before exceptional item




9,237


7,460

Exceptional items


2

(541)


315







Operating profit



8,696


7,775








Share of results of associate company


185


159

Finance income


3

110


66

Finance costs


3

(144)


(225)








Profit before exceptional item and income tax



9,388


7,460

Exceptional item


2

(541)


315







Profit before income tax



8,847


7,775








Income tax expense


4

(1,649)


(1,361)








Profit for the year



7,198


6,414



















Pence per


Pence per





share


share













Basic earnings per ordinary share

5

65.6


58.4

Adjusted earnings per ordinary share

5

69.6


55.3




















Diluted basic earnings per ordinary shares



5

65.0


57.9

Diluted adjusted earnings per ordinary share



5

69.0


54.8

 



 

Churchill China plc






Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income




for the year ended 31 December 2018

 







Audited


Audited




Year to


Year to




31 December 2018


31 December 2017




£000


£000







Other comprehensive (expense) / income




Items that will not be reclassified to profit or loss:




 Actuarial (loss) / gain on retirement benefit obligations

(175)


1,344

Items that may be reclassified subsequently to profit or loss:



 Currency translation differences


23


(33)







Other comprehensive income / (expense)

(152)


1,311







Profit for the year



7,198


6,414













Total comprehensive income for the period

7,046


7,725













Attributable to:






Equity holders of the Company


7,046


7,725













All the above figures relate to continuing operations




 

 



 

Churchill China plc






Consolidated Balance Sheet





as at 31 December 2018

 










Audited


Audited





31 December


31 December





2018


2017





£000


£000

Assets







Non Current assets






Property, plant and equipment


14,847


14,542

Intangible assets



91


101

Investment in associates



1,732


1,547

Deferred income tax assets


1,107


1,197





17,777


17,387

Current assets






Inventories




9,911


9,816

Trade and other receivables


9,719


8,650

Other financial assets



3,001


3,000

Cash and cash equivalents



14,380


12,577





37,011


34,043

Total assets




54,788


51,430








Liabilities







Current liabilities






Trade and other payables



(9,561)


(10,024)

Current income tax liabilities


(1,063)


(831)








Total current liabilities



(10,624)


(10,855)








Non-current liabilities






Deferred income tax liabilities


(754)


(775)

Retirement benefit obligations


(5,443)


(5,907)








Total non-current liabilities


(6,197)


(6,682)








Total liabilities



(16,821)


(17,537)








Net assets




37,967


33,893















Equity attributable to owners of the Company




Issued share capital



1,103


1,103

Share premium account



2,348


2,348

Treasury shares



(729)


(579)

Other reserves



1,703


1,565

Retained earnings



33,542


29,456





37,967


33,893



 

Churchill China plc

 







Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity





as at 31 December 2018

 

 










Retained

Share

Share

Treasury

Other





earnings

capital

premium

shares

reserves

Total






account







£000

£000

£000

£000

£000

£000










Balance at 1 January 2017

24,205

1,103

2,348

(575)

1,544

28,625










Comprehensive income








 Profit for the period


6,414

-

-

-

-

6,414

Other comprehensive income

-

-

-

-

-

-

 Depreciation transfer - gross

12

-

-

-

(12)

-

 Depreciation transfer - tax


(2)

-

-

-

2

-

Deferred tax - change in rate

-

-

-

-

12

12

 Actuarial losses - net


1,344

-

-

-

-

1,344

 Currency translation


-

-

-

-

(33)

(33)










Total comprehensive income

7,768

-

-

-

(43)

7,725










Transactions with owners








 Dividends



(2,433)

-

-

-

-

(2,433)

 Proceeds of share issue


-

-

-

3

-

3

 Share based payment


123

-

-

-

64

187

 Deferred tax - share based payment

57

-

-

-

-

57

 Treasury shares


(264)

-

-

(7)

-

(271)










Total transactions with owners

(2,517)

-

-

(4)

64

(2,457)




























Balance at 31 December 2017

29,456

1,103

2,348

(579)

1,565

33,893










Comprehensive income








 Profit for the period


7,198

-

-

-

-

7,198

Other comprehensive income







 Depreciation transfer - gross

12

-

-

-

(12)

-

 Depreciation transfer - tax


(2)

-

-

-

2

-

 Deferred tax - change in rate


-

-

-

-

-

 Actuarial losses - net


(175)

-

-

-

-

(175)

 Currency translation


-

-

-

-

23

23










Total comprehensive income

7,033

-

-

-

13

7,046










Transactions with owners








 Dividends



(2,840)

-

-

-

-

(2,840)

 Proceeds of share issue


-

-

-

3

-

3

 Share based payment


137

-

-

-

125

262

 Deferred tax - share based payment

(9)

-

-

-

-

(9)

 Treasury shares


(235)

-

-

(153)

-

(388)










Total transactions with owners

(2,947)

-

-

(150)

125

(2,972)










Balance at 31 December 2018

33,542

1,103

2,348

(729)

1,703

37,967


 



 

Churchill China plc






Consolidated Cash Flow Statement





for the year ended 31 December 2018

 








Audited


Audited





Year to


Year to





31 December 2018


31 December 2017





£000


£000








Cash flows from operating activities





Cash generated from operations (note 6)


8,260


7,743

Interest received



110


66

Interest paid




(1)


-

Income tax paid



(1,321)


(1,198)

Net cash generated from operating activities

7,048


6,611








Cash flows from investing activities





Purchases of property, plant and equipment

(2,042)


(2,155)

Proceeds on disposal of property, plant and equipment

80


1,139

Purchases of intangible assets


(59)


(54)

Net cash used in investing activities


(2,021)


(1,070)








Cash flows from financing activities





Issue of ordinary shares



3


3

Purchase of treasury shares


(387)


(271)

Dividends paid



(2,840)


(2,433)

Net sale / (purchase) of other financial assets


(1)


5

Net cash used in financing activities


(3,225)


(2,696)















Net increase in cash and cash equivalents

1,802


2,845








Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the year

12,577


9,734








Exchange gain / (loss) on cash and cash equivalents

1


(2)








Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year

14,380


12,577

 



 

1. Segmental analysis








 

for the year ended 31 December 2018






 







 

The figures given below analyse Group revenue between markets and geographic regions.

 

 


Audited

Year to

31 December 2018

£000


Audited

Year to

31 December 2017

£000





Revenue




Hospitality

52,357


47,395

Retail

5,122


6,135


57,479


53,530

Revenue




United Kingdom

23,008


24,016

Rest of Europe

21,306


17,688

North America

6,734


6,470

Rest of the World

6,431


5,356






57,479


53,530

 

 

2. Exceptional items

During the year, changes in the law in relation to the calculation of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions (GMP's) required that defined benefit pension schemes must equalise for the GMP benefits between men and women. The Churchill Group Retirement Benefit Scheme includes such benefits and a one off sum of £611,000 has been provided in for in 2018 reflecting the cumulative effect of these changes. Given the size and nature of this adjustment it has been treated as exceptional. A related deferred tax credit of £104,000 has also been treated as exceptional. Additionally sums previously provided for costs relating to the disposal of property which are no longer required have been released, generating an exceptional credit to profit of £70,000.

In 2017 the Group disposed of surplus property at Whieldon Road, Stoke on Trent for a total consideration of £1,100,000. The profit arising on this sale of £315,000 was treated as exceptional given its size and nature. A deferred tax credit of £28,000 arising on the sale was also treated as exceptional.

 

 

3. Finance income and costs









Audited


Audited





Year to


Year to





31 December 2018


31 December 2017





£000


£000

Finance income






Interest income on cash and cash equivalents

110


66

Finance income



110


66















Finance cost






Interest on pension scheme


(143)


(225)

Other interest



(1)


-

Finance costs



(144)


(225)















The interest cost arising from pension schemes is a non cash item










4. Income tax expense

















Audited


Audited





Year to


Year to





31 December 2018


31 December 2017





£000


£000








Current taxation



1,552


1,177

Deferred taxation



97


184

Income tax expense



1,649


1,361








 

5. Earnings per ordinary share                                                                                                                         

Basic earnings per ordinary share is based on the profit on ordinary activities after income tax of £7,198,000 (2017: £6,414,000) and on 10,966,996 (2017: 10,964,462) ordinary shares, being the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue during the year. Adjusted earnings per share is calculated after adjusting for the post tax effect of the exceptional items detailed (Note 2).  


Audited

Year to

31 December 2018

 


Audited

Year to

31 December 2017

 

Pence per share




Basic earnings per share

65.6


58.4

Less: Exceptional items

4.0


(3.1)





Adjusted earnings per share

69.6


55.3





                               

Diluted basic earnings per ordinary share is based on the profit on ordinary activities after income tax of £7,128,000 (2016: £6,414,000) and on 11,069,061 (2017: 11,062,013) ordinary shares, being the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue during the year of 10,966,966 (2016: 10,964,462) increased by 102,065  (2017: 97,551) shares, being the weighted average number of ordinary shares which would have been issued if the outstanding options to acquire shares in the Group had been exercised at the average price during the period. Adjusted earnings per share is calculated after adjusting for the post tax effect of the exceptional items detailed (Note 2).


Audited

Year to

31 December 2018

 


Audited

Year to

31 December 2017

 

Pence per share




Diluted basic earnings per share

65.0


57.9

Less: Exceptional item - profit on disposal

4.0


(3.1)





Diluted adjusted earnings per share

69.0


54.8







 

6. Reconciliation of operating profit to net cash inflow from continuing activities

 








 





Audited


Audited

 





Year to


Year to

 





31 December 2018


31 December 2017

 





£000


£000

 

Cash flows from operating activities





 








 

Operating profit



8,696


7,775

 

Adjustments for:






 

Depreciation



1,725


1,621

 

(Profit) / loss on disposal of property, plant and equipment

(91)


(317)

 

Charge for share based payment


262


187

 

Defined benefit pension cash contribution

(1,430)


(1,430)

 

Pension current service charge - non cash

611


-

 

Changes in working capital





 

  Inventory




(95)


(714)

 

  Trade and other receivables


(1,039)


785

 

  Trade and other payables



(379)


(164)

 

Net cash inflow from operations


8,260


7,743

 

 








                                               

7. Dividend                                                                                                           

The final dividend, which has not been provided for, has been calculated on 10,955,250 (2016: 10,962,323) ordinary shares, being those in issue at 31 December 2018 qualifying for dividend and at a rate of 20.3p (2017: 17.2p) per 10p ordinary share. The dividend will be paid on 24 May 2019 to shareholders on the register at 26 April 2019, subject to approval at the Company's Annual General Meeting.

The total dividend paid and proposed in respect of the year is 29.0p (2017: 24.6p).

8. Share buybacks

 

The Company bought back 38,000 shares during the year and may consider making further similar sized, ad hoc share buybacks going forward at the discretion of the Board and subject to shareholder authorities being renewed at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

 

9. Basis of preparation and accounting policies            

The financial information included in the preliminary announcement for year to 31 December 2018 has been audited and an unqualified audit report has been issued.

The preliminary financial statements represent extracts from those audited accounts but do not constitute statutory accounts within the meaning of Section 434 of the Companies Act 2006.

The Group's financial statements have been prepared in accordance with IFRS as adopted by the European Union, IFRIC interpretations and the Companies Act 2006 applicable to companies reporting under IFRS, under the historical cost convention as modified by the revaluation of land and buildings, available for sale financial assets, and financial assets and liabilities (including derivative instruments) at fair value through the profit and loss account. The same accounting policies, presentation and methods of computation are followed in the preliminary financial statements as were applied in the Group's financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2017,, save for the adoption of IFRS 15 and IFRS 9.

Statutory accounts for the year ended 31 December 2017 have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies. Statutory accounts for the year ended 31 December 2018 will be delivered to the Registrar of Companies after the Company's Annual General Meeting and will also be available on the Company's website (www.churchill1795.com) on or around 23 April 2018 and will be sent to shareholders on the same date.

 


This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.
 
END
 
 
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Preliminary Results - RNS