International sales, marketing and distribution business DCC yesterday raised more than €270m in a share placing, on the same day it announced bigger-than- expected earnings growth and its largest ever acquisition.
The company with operations across Europe issued 4.2 million shares at a price of £47 (€65) per share, in part, to finance the acquisition of France’s second largest LPG provider.
DCC Energy’s purchase of Butagaz from Shell in a deal worth €464m would represent the largest ever completed by the company and a major step forward in the continuing expansion of its liquefied petroleum gas business.
“The acquisition of Butagaz represents a major step forward in DCC’s ambition to build a very significant presence in the global liquefied petroleum gas market,” said DCC chief executive, Tommy Breen.
The share placing will help drive further growth across the group, DCC indicated yesterday while guiding significant profit growth in the year ahead.
With a market share of 25%, the acquisition of Butagaz would provide DCC Energy with a substantial presence in the French liquefied petroleum gas market.
The acquisition will require EU competition and French government clearance.
In its full year results also released yesterday, DCC recorded operating profits of £228.2m — an increase of more than 10% on its 2014 performance.
At 202.2p, earnings per share were also up by a similar margin (9.8%) while revenue declined by 4%.
During the second half of the financial year the Group disposed of its Irish food and beverage subsidiaries for £55.1m with the disposals garnering an exceptional gain net of costs of £8.2m.
Revenue from continuing operations increased 6.5% or by more than 8% on a constant currency basis. Those figures exclude its food and beverage business and leaving aside DCC Energy which was impacted by lower oil prices.
The year to the end of March 2015 was a record 12- month period in terms of business development with £554m committed to acquisitions, including the Butagaz deal.
Other deals struck include a €130m acquisition of Esso Express unmanned retail petrol station network and the Esso branded concessions in France; and Captech — the Swedish technology distribution business acquired for £15.7m by DCC Technology.
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