Orora demonstrates strength despite challenging environment
Orora Limited (ASX: ORA) on the 17th of September released a series of reports, including the annual report, corporate governance statement along with ancillary documents. They have detailed how they are progressing in the packaging and visual communication industry over different segments.
The North American segment was severely affected by COVID-19 during 2H 2020, with lockdown effects creating an environment where ORA accelerated innovation to adapt their product offering. Overall, a focus upon improving margins and cost reductions through this uncertainty became pivotal for Orora Limited’s continued revenue growth. A major adversity to business for ORA Visual North America was the trend of retailers closing stores where promotional material expenditure was deferred.
In the Australian segment, Australasia Fibre was sold in April, moving ownership to Nippon Paper Industries Co. Limited for AUD1,720 million, with net proceeds coming to AUD1,550 million. The benefits of this sale enhanced Orora’s balance sheet and supported the dividend consideration of 12 cents per share. On paper, this looks to be a decrease of 7.7 per cent compared to last year; but does not account for the special dividend of 37.3 cents per share paid on the 29th of June. This represents a return of AUD600 million to shareholders.
Australasian Beverage remains a strong investment opportunity for ORA, especially now with the G2 furnace rebuilt and capacity expansion of the Gawler Glass site. This represents a part of the AUD200 million investment over 5 years to develop a world class glass facility. A new AUD35 million warehouse has been constructed to support the business, equipped with Auto Laser Guided Vehicles that are take efficiency and accuracy to a new level.
Can processes have also seen innovations in printing and embossing, with a solid growth in volumes. However, earnings have been impacted through the cost of growth and lower glass volumes, attributed mainly to lower wine exports with macroeconomic factors halting demand.
A notable financial statistic during this time was a 5.2 per cent growth in Sales revenue to AUD3,566.2 million. Yet, there has been a decrease in earnings before tax by 14.3 per cent and other financial statistics due to COVID-19 complications with irregularities in volume.
Sustainability in production is a core value that ORA keeps and as such has made efforts to increase the lifespan of the products. This includes recycling inputs organised with governmental bodies to gain access to recyclable glass to the Gawler glass plant. Looking to the future, the company has introduced new Eco Targets which are focussed on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, waste that ends in landfill and water usage.
ORA has not provided a guidance for FY21 as the outlook remains very difficult to predict at the given time. Ultimately, there will be a focus on growth strategies and investment in initiatives to generate more value in breadth and depth of beverage, whilst exploring inorganic growth options.