IRN-BRU maker AG Barr (LON: BAG) was hit be forecast downgrades last year, but they are going the other way in 2020.
Shore Capital has edged up its 2019-20 pre-tax profit forecast from £36.1m to £37.1m. This is a return to normality for the soft drinks maker, which has a good track record and does not normally disappoint like to it did last year.
The profit forecast still represents a downturn on the £45.2m profit made in the year to January 2019 and, for the moment, there is little recovery expected this year.
In the year to January 2020, revenues are expected to dip from £279m to £255m. IRN-BRU sales grew in the fourth quarter.
The summer was not as good last year and pricing was adjusted, which hampered volumes but meant that the average realised prices rose.
There were costs of up to £2m for restructuring operations, although compensation for a removal of a wind turbine at the company’s Cumbernauld site will offset that.
Net cash is expected to fall from £21.8m to £7.1m (excluding leases), although that is partly due to share buy backs. Continued steady growth in the dividend is expected with 17.1p a share forecast for 2019-20. That is covered by cash generated.
IRN-BRU is in a good position at the start of this year. The Funkin cocktails business has proved to be an excellent buy and is trading well. The Stripe alcohol-free spirit product has been launched and it is too early to say whether it will be a success.
A bottle deposit scheme is planned in Scotland and there could be more news in March.
At 605p, the shares have risen by around 10% since the trading statement, and they are trading on 23 times estimated earnings. The yield is 2.8%.
The 2020-21 forecast is untouched. There could be opportunities for upgrades this year, possibly as early as the full year figures.