Top story

AIM-listed Science in Sport (SIS), a leading sports nutrition company that develops, manufactures and markets sports nutrition products for professional athletes and sports enthusiasts, has posted full-year revenues up 28% to £15.6m (2016: £12.2m).

The figure was significantly ahead of market growth for the overall sports nutrition sector, with particularly strong growth in online channels and international markets.

It posted an underlying operating loss, excluding depreciation and amortisation and non-cash share based payments of £1.7m (2016: £800k), which was in line with growth strategy and expectations and reflected continued investment in brand awareness, e-commerce and international expansion. The core UK business delivered an operating profit of £600k.

Pre-tax losses extended to £3.9m from £2.9m in its previous financial year.

The company said 55% of revenue was derived from online channels (2016: 49%), exceeding its 50% target set for 2017. Continued investment in the Science in Sport e-commerce platform delivered 58% year-on-year growth, contributing 30% of revenues.

Innovation and new product development included Rego Rapid Recovery Plus developed with Team Sky, further extension of the Whey 20 portfolio and a strong launch pipeline for 2018.

The statement said the company had continued to work closely with the leading five major grocery chains during what had been a challenging year for grocers. Like-for-like growth of 8% was in line with the category. High street revenue grew 11% in 2017 after a decline in 2016, with the sales growth driven by one of the leading sports retailers.

The company also announced that Olympic champion swimmer Adam Peaty MBE had joined its brand ambassador team, initially up to and including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

He will work alongside SIS and contribute “elite athlete insight” to support future science and innovation. He joins Britain’s most decorated Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy and Mark Cavendish MBE as a SiS brand ambassador.

Stephen Moon, Science in Sport’s CEO, said: “This was another period of very strong growth, the fifth consecutive year where SiS has significantly outstripped this sector. We saw outperformance in all online channels and international markets. Our strategy of consistent investment in brand equity, our e-commerce platform and product innovation underpinned this success. Continuing improvements in factory and supply chain efficiencies underpinned a very robust gross margin. Our core business in the UK and EU was profitable at EBITDA level and we commenced our investment in the strategic markets of the USA and Italy.

“We are looking forward to another year of strong revenue growth in 2018. We expect gross margin to be consistent, given further factory efficiencies and favourable raw material prices. Our innovation pipeline for 2018 and beyond is very healthy and will continue to be a key driver of progress. We are investing substantially to develop our businesses in the USA and Italy and in addition we have launched our new football business, underpinned by our recently announced exclusive nutrition partnership with Manchester United.”

Morning update

Ornua, Ireland’s largest exporter of Irish dairy products has announced record revenues of €2.1bn for the year ended 30 December.

It marked the first year of Ornua’s new five-year growth plan, Ornua 2021. Pre-tax profit climbed jumped 84% from €15.8m to €29.1m on turnover up 18% from €1.7bn to €2.1bn.

The period saw it secure a new five-year syndicated bank facilities of €610m to support dairy industry growth.

Ornua, which provides grass-fed Irish dairy to more than 110 countries launched 34 new product innovations including a Kerrygold shredded cheese range in Germany.

Kevin Lane, CEO, said 2017 had been a year of significant growth for Ornua with an excellent financial performance as it successfully delivered year one of its new five-year growth plan.

“Product innovation continued at pace and allowed us to unlock new routes to market to ultimately drive value for our members, Ireland’s dairy processors and Irish farmers. A major emphasis on building scale and capability within our core business last year, coupled with the integration of recent acquisitions, leaves us well placed to drive further growth across our group.

“Despite volatile market conditions and Brexit uncertainties, we remain on track to deliver our 2021 vision of a €3bn revenue business with a sustainable EBITA margin of 3%.”

Fever-Tree, the world’s leading supplier of premium carbonated mixers, announced that on 19 March, Jeff Popkin, non-executive director, bought 500 shares for $41.22.

On the markets this morning the FTSE 100 fell 0.1% in early trading to 7,052.5pts.

Early market fallers included Ocado Group (OCDO), off 2.4% at 554.4p following yesterday’s first-quarter figures, Stock Spirits Group (STCK), down 2.1% at 247.5p, Tesco (TSCO) down 0.4% at 206.10p and Majestic WINE (WINE) fell 1.1% to 436p.

Climbers in early trading included Devro (DVO), up 3.7% at 205p, Kerry Group (KYGA), up 1.1% at €79.8, Paypoint (PAY) up 0.5% at 814p and Premier Foods (PFD) edged 0.3% higher at 39p. 

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 closed up 0.3% at 7,061.3pts

The Consumer Prices Index 12-month inflation rate eased slightly to 2.7% in February from 3% the previous month. Food and non-alcoholic beverages, along with transport, made the largest downward contribution.

Prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages climbed 0.1% between January and February this year, compared with an increase of 0.8% a year ago.

The annual rate of alcoholic beverages and tobacco rose 5.7%, up from 5.5% last month – the highest since December 2013 (5.8%).

The largest single downward contribution came from vegetables where prices fell in 2018 compared with a rise in 2017. The uplift between January and February 2017 came amid reports of shortages of certain greens and salad vegetables that arose from adverse weather in southern Europe, the Office for National Statistics said.

Increases in milk, cheese and eggs, and sugar, jam, syrups, chocolate and confectionery for the 12-month period, partially offset the falls in vegetables, including potatoes; as well as bread and cereals, fish, fruit, meat, oils and fats and other food products.

The all goods Retail Price Index annual rate is 3.7%, down from 4.1% last month, Producer price inflation for goods leaving the factory gate was 2.6% in the year to February, down from 2.8% in January.

ONS Head of CPI Phil Gooding said: “A small fall in petrol prices alongside food prices rising more slowly than last year helped pull down inflation, as many of the early 2017 price increases due to the previous depreciation of the pound have started to work through the system…There were some signs of slowing price rises in the cost of products leaving factories, with food and petroleum products prices falling.”

Ocado Group (OCDO) was one of the many market fallers, following its first-quarter trading update yesterday, slipping 0.7% at 568.2p by the close.

Science in Sport (SIS) fell 1.4% to 73p ahead of its finals today and AG Barr (BAG) closed down 1.3% at 630p.

Climbers included Premier Foods (PFD), up 3.9% at 38.9p, SSP Group (SSPG), up 3% at 631p, and Wynnstay Group (WYN), after an upbeat AGM, closed 3.1% higher at 417.5p.

Other climbers included McBride (MCB) up 1.1% at 164.2p while Greencore Group (GNC) ended the day up 1.2% at 136.1p.