Genus profits give shareholders 8.25p dividend

Shareholders in animal genetics giant Genus are due to receive a dividend of 8.25p/share following a set of bullish results for the firm.

Preliminary results show operating profit from continuing operations rose to £22.3m for the 15 months to the end of June 2006, up from £10.4m for the previous 12-month period.

Group turnover on the same basis also more than doubled to stand at £244.5m.

However, taking the figures down a line or two shows pre-tax profit fell to £2.8m, due to exceptional items and goodwill payments arising from the acquisition of pig genetics firm Sygen in December 2005, as well as a higher interest charge reflecting the extra debt taken on to fund the Sygen deal.

Post-tax earnings slipped into the red, with the firm making a loss of £300,000. However, ignoring exceptionals gives a clearer indication of the group’s core performance. On this basis, earnings after tax hit £11.3m, up from £6.9m during the previous year.

This equates to an earnings per share figure of 25p, resulting in a dividend of 8.25p/ordinary share, up 10%. That reflects the board’s confidence in the enlarged group’s prospects. Payment is due on 1 December, subject to shareholder approval.

Richard Wood, chief executive, said: “We have achieved a momentous change for Genus and have produced record results from our continuing operations.

“The Sygen acquisition has brought together the market leader in bovine genetics with the market leader in porcine genetics to create a multi-species company with a broad international spread of business. We view the group’s prospects positively.”

Genus is planning a further voluntary share buyback scheme later this year to reduce the number of investors with small shareholdings to improve liquidity.

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