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Improved results due to increased sales and exports, cost containment and improved productivity

Simonds Farsons Cisk plc announced the appointment of Mr Louis A. Farrugia as chairman of the company. Mr Farrugia succeeds Mr Bryan A. Gera, who held the post of chairman for the last 16 years, and did not seek re-election. The company also appointed Mr Michael Farrugia as a non-executive director on the board. Both appointments were announced during the 64th annual general meeting held yesterday (23rd June 2011) and are with immediate effect. 

Mr Michael Farrugia is currently head of business support of the Farsons group, responsible for field marketing and technical support services. He has an active role in business/product innovation and growth opportunities both locally and abroad.

Mr Louis A Farrugia, who during the last financial year served as chairman of the group executive board, thanked Mr Gera for his great dedication and fairness. “Mr Gera was always very actively engaged in preparing the board for the various important decisions that needed to be taken throughout these years of substantial investment and changes during his chairmanship,” he said.

Regarding the new €14 million brewhouse project, Mr Farrugia announced that the project’s structural works are well advanced and, in autumn 2011, key machinery such as the brewhouse vessels and malt tower silos will be installed.  The brewhouse project will be finished in June 2012.  

In his review of the overall performance of the group’s businesses and products, Farsons group chief executive Mr Norman Aquilina, said: “In spite of operating in a highly competitive market, our sales results improved by €2.2 million over 2010 (equivalent to 3.44%) and we reached record sales levels amounting to €67.4 million. The Group registered an operating profit of €6.3 million and improved profit before tax by more than €4million.

“Our EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was the highest in the past five years, reaching nearly €11 million. The gearing ratio, that is, the ratio of debt on equity and debt at the year end, stood at 27.1%. This is also an improvement over the previous year’s 34.8% and the lowest in the last five years,” said Mr Aquilina.

During his overview of 2010, Mr Aquilina said that Farsons’ export sales reached record levels in terms of volume and profitability. Today, Farsons is exporting to 15 countries in Europe, North America, North Africa and Australia. While Cisk Lager is now also available in China, Kinnie remained a major asset for the company.

Faced with sustained increases in costs of energy and utilities, Farsons managed an impressive reduction of 12.5% in energy consumption and a 10% reduction in water usage.

Quintano Foods is now investing in the construction of sizeable freezer storage facilities within its Marsa premises.

“Our financial results are encouraging, and the result of so much hard work and commitment by many colleagues across this group. Such results demonstrate that strategic, and often tough, decisions do translate into tangible results,” said Mr Aquilina.

When Mr Gera addressed the shareholders, he thanked all Farsons group directors, the entire management and staff at the brewery and subsidiaries for their dedication and commitment and all the shareholders for their trust in the Farsons group. During the AGM, the shareholders approved the accounts for the year ended 31st January 2011, and the reports of the directors and auditors. A final net dividend of €1,600,000 paid out of tax exempt profits equivalent to a net dividend of €0.0533 per ordinary share was approved. PricewaterhouseCoopers were reconfirmed as auditors of the company. The shareholders also approved an increase in the aggregate amount of emoluments payable annually to executive and non-executive directors, which increase shall be effective from the financial year ending 31st January 2012.

Dr Max Ganado and Mr Roderick Chalmers were automatically elected as directors, while the other directors were confirmed in their posts.  

During an extraordinary general meeting, held prior to the annual general meeting, a number of proposed amendments to memorandum and articles of association were also approved by Farsons shareholders.