2021 has been another challenging year for all our staff and the communities in which we operate as they have continued to work through the pandemic and the on-going impact it has had on operations globally. We have seen inspiring collaboration with local governments and communities as they have pulled together to deal with the consequences of the pandemic.
The results for 2021 reflect a profit before tax of £7.1 million after a number of one off items with an aggregate net cost of £1.7 million (2020: profit before tax of £7.8 million after one off net costs of £8.2 million). Profits were also impacted by the important long-term strategic changes made in the last two financial years to the Agriculture portfolio.

Despite the unprecedented challenges, the resilience and commitment of our people has enabled us to continue to focus on our strategy of expansion in areas of expertise, while divesting non-core businesses. We noted in our 2021 Interim Report that the Board was undertaking a series of measures aimed at re-balancing the Group’s portfolio of investments in order to take better advantage of its strengths, and thereby improve profitability and share price performance. Significant steps have been taken to diversify our interests in agriculture where we have scale and expertise, and sell those businesses where we have fewer long-term strategic advantages.
Further details are provided in the Operational report.

Reflecting confidence in the Group’s long-term future, the Board is recommending a final dividend in respect of the year ended 31 December 2021 of 102p per share increasing the total dividend for the year to 146p per share.

With significant uptake of vaccines, there are signs of the world returning to normality, but we do not believe that normal trading conditions will emerge until 2023 at the earliest, and may be further delayed by the disastrous war in Ukraine.
The substantial rise in energy prices will continue to affect our global supply chain, with an increase in the cost of shipping affecting us and our customers alike. Linked to the increasing price of natural gas, fertiliser prices have increased substantially with the impact being felt in the cost of production across all our agricultural operations. Furthermore, rising inflation will to lead to further increases in wages.
On a more positive note, the year has started well for our agricultural operations with good prices being achieved in the Kenya tea market and a strong opening for India and Bangladesh, albeit it is very early in the season. The remaining crops are developing in line with what we would expect at this stage in the growing cycle.

We were deeply saddened by the passing of Chris Relleen, Senior independent non-executive Director, in August 2021. We shall all remember Chris’ contribution to the Board and miss his wise counsel, humility and humour.
I am delighted to welcome our new non-executive Directors, Rachel English and Stephen Buckland. Rachel English, a chartered accountant, has extensive international and general management experience, having founded and served on the board of several significant businesses. She has a particular focus on ESG matters. Stephen Buckland is a trustee of The Sir Percival Griffiths’ Tea Planters Trust and also The Camellia Foundation, a UK charity whose primary donor of the same name is the ultimate majority shareholder of Camellia Plc. Stephen previously held positions within the Camellia Group’s agricultural and banking businesses.

As announced previously, Tom Franks, having substantially achieved the objective of focusing the Group’s investments into the core activities of agriculture and food and beverage distribution, has indicated his wish not to stand for re-election at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting in June. I would like to thank Tom for his contribution to the business through a challenging few years and we wish him well for the future. The Board is initiating a search process to identify a new CEO.
In addition, and as previously announced, two of our independent non-executive Directors, William Gibson and Gautam Dalal, have also indicated that they will not be standing for re-election at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting. I would like to thank both of them for their contributions to the business. Further appointments of new non-executive Directors to the Board will be announced in due course.

I am grateful to our staff around the world for their continued hard work and dedication in challenging circumstances, and for the progress we have made together.

Malcolm Perkins


30 May 2022

Our 2021 Annual Report is now available.