Friday 24 October 2014

Profit signs point to DCC joining the ISEQ exodus

Published 07/11/2012 | 05:00

DCC is keeping its Irish Stock Exchange listing under appraisal as its businesses outside Ireland continue to form the lion's share of its revenue and profits.

A number of Irish firms have ditched or downgraded their Irish listings for various reasons in the past year or so. Clinical trials outsourcing firm Icon became the latest to defect, when last week it said it was leaving the ISEQ to become a fully-fledged member of the Nasdaq.

Just over two-thirds of DCC's annual profits last year were generated in the UK, 18pc from mainland Europe and 14pc from Ireland.

In the first half of its current financial year, 72pc of operating profit was generated in the UK, 20pc in continental Europe and 8pc in Ireland.

Shareholders

"We've got to do, as a board, what we believe is in the best interests of our shareholders," said DCC chief executive Tommy Breen yesterday.

"We keep lots of things under review. But we clearly have made no decision on that at this point in time."

Almost 70pc of DCC stock is held by overseas institutions, 7.9pc by Irish ones, and about 11.5pc held by individual retail shareholders -- most of them in Ireland.

Mr Breen was speaking as DCC unveiled a 42.4pc increase in revenue to €6.05bn for the first six months of its financial year to the end of September. Operating profit rose 9pc to €62.4m.

The figures were 32.5pc and 1.1pc higher respectively on a constant currency basis. Stronger sterling versus the euro flattered the figures.

DCC -- a diversified group that has interests from healthcare to IT -- is also the biggest distributor of home heating oil in the UK.

Energy

The energy division accounted for €4.75bn in revenue in the first half, up 51.7pc, with the bulk of that increase having been accounted for by acquisitions.

Operating profit climbed 25.1pc to €23.4m at the unit.

Following a mild winter last year, Mr Breen said DCC was anticipating a return to more normalised and cooler conditions for this winter.

He said that the company was sticking to its previous guidance that operating profit and adjusted earnings per share on a constant currency basis would both be about 15pc higher in the current financial year compared to last year.

On a reported basis, that would lead to about a 20pc rise in operating profit and adjusted earnings per share.

DCC spent and earmarked a total of €166m for acquisitions in the first half of the year.

Mr Breen said the company has comfortable financial headroom to make further purchases as opportunities present themselves.

DCC agreed last August to pay €50m to buy BP's LPG distribution business in Britain, while it agreed in September to pay a further €24.5m to buy the oil giant's LPG distribution business in Belgium and Holland.

Irish Independent

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