Astrapak shares up after swinging to profit, via News24

Cape Town - Shares in Astrapak [JSE:APK] edged up slightly after the specialist packaging company recorded a profit as well as narrowing its loss for the year to end-February.

For the 2016 year, Astrapak returned to a profit of R20.6m from the previous year’s R127m loss. This was achieved on a slightly lower revenue of R1.3bn

Astrapak's share price was up 2.13% at R3.84.

“Our operational structures have been significantly overhauled, we have made good progress on exiting from discontinued businesses and surplus assets, and have reinvested notably into servicing major customers, particularly those in our personal care lines,” said Astrapak Group CEO Robin Moore in a statement on Wednesday.

“This is evidenced by far fewer one-off items in this year’s financial results, as discontinued operations and closure costs are almost out the system. With a streamlined business, fewer but larger customers, and with major investments in place, we are now set to drive performance towards targeted returns.”

The company reported that group attributable loss was R3.9m from R143.3m last year. This equates to earnings per share loss of 2.7 cents (comparative loss per share of 114.4/c). Headline loss per share was 14.1/c compared to a loss of 71.5/c in 2015.

Gross profit increased by 3.2% to R301.5m with gross profit percentage improving to 22.4% from 21.0%.      

EBITDA from continuing operations of R116.1m compared with R127.4m in 2015. Adjusting for the PET Hilfort exit, asset disposals and share option items, EBITDA increased by 20.3% and EBIT by 42.5% on a like for like basis.

Moore explained that Astrapak has exited its PET and Flexible divisions, and refocused the group as a moulding and forming technologies based packaging manufacturer.

“With these divisions now our key operations, we have worked on reinforcing our leading positions in these target markets. Capital expenditure for the year was concentrated on being able to best service key multi-national customers with whom we have multi-year supply contracts.”

Astrapak did not declared a 2016 ordinary dividend as operational cash flows have been reinvested into executing the turnaround strategy and to reduce debt.

“We are aspirant in recommencing dividend distributions to shareholders,” said Moore.

He said the group will issue dividends when its reworked businesses are on track and delivering healthy cash flows, balanced against their requirements for maintenance and growth.