Nutrition and ingredients company Glanbia posted a healthy increase in annual pre-tax profit underpinned by strong demand at its Global Performance Nutrition division.
The Irish cheese maker said pre-tax profit rose to €176m from €150.2m in the year to January 4th while adjusted earnings per share in constant currency rose 12%. Total group revenue grew 10.5% to €3.28bn while on a reported basis revenue increased 8.0%.
"Results were underpinned by a strong performance by Global Performance Nutrition as over 20% branded revenue growth drove a 100 basis point margin expansion and an earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation (EBITA) increased of 27.9% on a constant currency basis," the group explained.
Revenues at Global Ingredients increased 11.5% while EBITA increased 8.1%.
Elsewhere Dairy Ireland's results declined significantly due to the performance of Consumer Products, it said.
Group Managing Director Siobhán Talbot said: "Glanbia had another year of double digit earnings growth in 2013. Our two global growth platforms performed well, particularly Global Performance Nutrition where strong momentum in branded revenue growth and international expansion delivered a 28% increase in profitability, on a constant currency basis.
"We expect 2014 to be another positive year. We will benefit from our ongoing organic investment programme, good prospects for Global Ingredients and Global Performance Nutrition and an expected improvement in Dairy Ireland. We are guiding 8% to 10% growth in adjusted earnings per share for the full year 2014, on a constant currency basis."
Glanbia is offering a 10% increase in its dividend payment.
Clothing retailer French Connection said full-year operating losses reduced as trading picked up in the second-half of the year in the UK and Europe.
The London-based firm said underlying group operating loss reduced to £4.4m for the year ended January 31st from a loss of £7.2m a year earlier. Group revenue slipped to £189.4m from £197.3m. Group gross margins improved to 47.6% from 47.9%.
"The majority of the improvement in the financial performance was from our Retail division which reduced operating losses by £3.8m over the year. This was driven out of our UK/Europe business, through enhanced margins particularly in the latter part of the second half, lower underlying labour costs and the closure of nine non-contributing stores," the group explained in a company statement.
Chairman and Chief Executive Stephen Marks said he was pleased with the initiatives put in place to drive a turnaround.
"We strengthened management across our business resulting in improvements in performance. Our new design team is working well; changes in our retail buying resulted in much better stock control; stores are operating more efficiently and the investment in our e-commerce business delivered good results.
"We continue to manage costs tightly. The group remains debt free and ended the year with a strong cash position. I am confident that we are on the right path and have the right strategy to drive further progress."