Last Updated on Friday, 25 June, 2021 at 11:31 am by Andre Camilleri
Simonds Farsons Cisk plc’s 74th annual general meeting was held remotely for the second time due to the restrictive measures related to the COVID-19 environment. Farsons Group Chairman, Mr Louis A. Farrugia stated at the AGM held on the 24th June 2021 that the results achieved are commendable given the enormity of the challenges that have been faced since March 2020. The past financial year will go down as one of the most challenging in the Group’s history. The toll of the pandemic which has affected every corner of every continent, has also had severe implications on the trading performance of the Group. The Farsons Group was able to manage the sizeable reduction in its trading activities without having to declare redundancies or take other very tough measures due to the fact that it faced the crisis from a position of strength, having also just completed ten years of growth in turnover and profits as well as implementing a very significant investments programme that modernized and transformed its facilities.
Group turnover for the year ended 31 January 2021 fell from €103 million to €73 million, a decrease of 29.4% which was experienced across all sectors, with the higher drops being registered in the beverage import operations and the franchised food establishments which were both impacted by enforced closures and the absence of tourists this past year. The Farsons Group also saw a decline in Group profit before tax for the year of €7.9 million, equivalent to a reduction of 64% on that reported for the previous financial year. This year’s profit before tax amounted to €4.4 million for the financial year under review.
Group CEO Mr Norman Aquilina stated: “Throughout the year, we have been compelled to operate within a highly volatile and disruptive market with all the consequences this brought about on the working environment, our revenue and overall Group performance. We have responded by increasing our promotional activity and selling efforts, introduced various cost containment measures and revisited operational efficiency to be able to achieve savings of €3.3 million.”
Given the evolving scenario, Mr Farrugia concluded that the Board felt that it would be prudent to await further developments both locally and in Europe, particularly related to the opening of the tourist market which is so critical to Malta’s economy and to the Group’s business, before declaring a dividend. If the situation improves, he noted that the Board will be then better placed to consider favourably the declaration of an interim dividend at the time of the announcement of the Group’s financial results in September 2021.
Apart from approving the income statement and statement of financial position for the year ended 31 January 2021, and the reports of the Directors and the Auditors thereon, and the re-appointment of auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, the meeting also approved the Remuneration Report for the year ended 31st January 2021. As approved in the previous Annual General Meeting held on 8th October 2020, the company has not circulated printed copies of its annual accounts as these have been made available on its website www.farsons.com and the shareholders have been informed accordingly.
The Board of Directors was also reconfirmed.