Glanbia plc has reported a strong performance for the first half of 2021.

Strong revenue growth and margin improvements delivered earnings per share growth of 85% on a constant currency basis.

Full-year guidance is for adjusted earnings per share growth of 17% to 22% versus the prior year.

Significant bounce

The results signal a significant bounce back from annual and half-year results posted for the last two years.

Glanbia chief executive Siobhan Talbot puts this down to an element of COVID recovery and managing COVID well within the business.

In February 2021, Glanbia plc reported a double-digit decline in profits for 2020, as COVID-19 affected all areas of the business over the past 12 months.

Announcing full-year results in February, Glanbia reported a 35% decline in operating profits for 2020 to just over €114m, as operating profit margins narrowed from 4.6% in 2019 to a modest 3% last year.

Share price in February was €11, but has risen strongly for the first half of 2021, rising as high as €15 at the end of July, but closing at €14.06 per share on Wednesday.

Half-year results highlights

In total, half-year revenues were up to €2.04bn, which is up 20% on 2020 half-year results on constant currency basis.

The Glanbia Performance Nutrition business delivered revenue growth of 28% on a constant currency basis on the prior year, with earnings (EBITA) of €90m, up 418%.

Glanbia Nutritionals delivered volume growth of 14% on constant currency on 2020 half-year results with EBITA of €69.7m, up 17%.

Joint Ventures delivered a share of profit after tax of €29.9m, down €1.9m on prior half-year.

Strategic agenda

Glanbia plc completed a 60% stake in LevlUp, a European direct-to-consumer gaming nutrition brand, with one of its key products a caffeine, low-sugar-based drink for young people that are gaming.

Talbot said: “We made strong progress on our strategic agenda in the first half, with significant progress on the GPN transformation programme driving revenue and margin growth, the acquisition of a 60% stake in LevlUp, commissioning of a $470m JV plant in Michigan, the progression of our environmental, social and governance strategy, and the restructure of legacy pension liabilities to de-risk our balance sheet.

"In the first half of 2021, we generated over €160m of operating cashflow and reduced our net debt by over €100m.

"As a result of this strong performance, we plan to increase returns to shareholders by raising our interim dividend by 10%, as well as launching a share buyback programme of up to €50m.”