Nichols 2022 Preliminary Results

Nichols plc (‘Nichols’ or the ‘Group’), the diversified soft drinks Group, announces its Preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2022 (the ‘period’).

31 December 2022 31 December 2021 Movement
Group Revenue £164.9m £144.3m +14.3%
Adjusted Profit Before Tax (PBT)1 £25.0m £21.8m +14.5%
Profit/(Loss) Before Tax (PBT) £13.8m £(17.7)m +178.4%
Adjusted PBT Margin1 15.1% 15.1%
PBT Margin 8.4% (12.2%) +20.6ppts
Statutory EBITDA2 £26.9m £23.7m +13.3%
Adjusted earnings per share (basic)1 55.38p 46.15p +20.0%
Earnings/(Loss) per share (basic) 31.86p (60.04p) +153.1%
Free Cash Flow3 (FCF) £14.6m £17.5m (16.7%)
Adjusted Return on Capital Employed4 27.2% 26.6% +0.6ppts
Statutory Return on Capital Employed5 14.2% (15.8%) +30.0ppts
Proposed Final Dividend 15.3p 13.3p +15.0%
Full year dividend 27.7p 23.1p +19.9%

Financial highlights

  • Group revenue increased by 14.3% to £164.9m (2021: £144.3m)
    • Still products +8.2% to £78.3m (2021: £72.4m)
    • Carbonated products +20.4% to £86.6m (2021: £71.9m)
  • UK revenues increased by 13.7% to £127.0m (2021: £111.6m)
  • UK Packaged route to market sales +2.9%
  • UK Out of Home (OoH) recovery continues post pandemic, with revenues +42.8%
  • International revenues +16.1% to £38.0m (2021: £32.7m)
    • Middle East revenue +20.4% (+11.3% excluding 2021 marketing investment)
    • Significant progress in Africa continued with revenue +15.0%
    • ROW markets revenue +12.7%, supported by strong OoH recovery in Europe
  • Maintained Adjusted PBT Margin at 15.1%, despite significant inflationary pressures (2021: 15.1%)
  • Continued strong cash performance with FCF3 of £14.6m (£18.9m excluding historic HMRC incentive scheme tax settlement during the year) (2021: £17.5m)
    • Cash conversion6 at 72% (2021: 103%)
    • Exceptional charge of £11.1m; £8.7m attributable to non-cash impairment of OoH intangible and fixed assets
    • Proposed final dividend of 15.3p, up 15.0% year-on-year and reflecting 2x cover7, in-line with the Group’s dividend policy. If approved at the Group’s AGM, the full year dividend of 27.7p would represent a 19.9% increase year-on-year

Strategic and Operational highlights

  • Vimto’s brand value in the UK +3.0%8
    • Continued outperformance of the dilutes market, by +2.3%9
    • Significant and continued progress in the ready to drink market, with brand value +15.9%9
  • Successful transfer of Dilutes contract manufacturing to faster and more efficient lines in H1, supporting a more favourable underlying cost of goods
  • Strategic review of the OoH route to market completed, with opportunities for net margin improvement identified. Actions have commenced and will continue to be implemented throughout FY23 with benefits largely realised in FY24 and beyond
  • Segmental reporting and separate strategic focus between Packaged and OoH businesses from FY23

1 Excluding Exceptional items
2 EBITDA is the statutory profit before tax, interest, depreciation, and amortisation
3 Free Cash Flow is the net increase in cash and cash equivalents before acquisition funding and dividends
4 Adjusted return on capital employed is the adjusted operating profit divided by the average period-end capital employed
5 Statutory return on capital employed is the operating profit divided by the average period-end capital employed
6 Cash Conversion is the Free Cash Flow / Adjusted Profit After Tax
7 Dividend cover is adjusted basic earnings per share divided by the dividend per share
8 Source: Nielsen IQ RMS data for the Total Soft Drinks category for the YTD ending 31 December 2022 for the GB Total Coverage market
9 Source: Nielsen IQ RMS data for the Dilutes and RTD Stills categories for the 12 months to 31 December 2022 for the GB Total Coverage market
10 FY23 market expectations refers to a Group compiled consensus of adjusted PBT of £25.1m

Vimto continues to perform well both in the UK and internationally and despite ongoing inflationary pressures, which accelerated during the second half, the brand has ensured a robust financial performance for the Group. In the UK we have again seen the brand outperform in dilutes and continued to make significant progress in the ready to drink subcategory. Internationally, we continued to see solid growth across all regions. In particular, it was pleasing to see strong underlying growth in both the Middle East and Africa given the importance of these markets to the Group.

The Board currently expects FY23 Adjusted PBT1 to be in line with FY22 and market expectations10, with International ahead and OoH behind initial market forecasts. The Board remains confident of significant progress in FY24 as inflationary pressures abate and the benefits of the Out of Home Strategic Review are realised.

With a long-term track record of growth, a proven and diversified strategy in the UK and internationally, a quality range of brands and a strong balance sheet, the Board remains highly confident that the Group is very well positioned to deliver its long-term growth plans.

John Nichols, Non-Executive Chairman

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