Devro Full-Year Profit Doubles on Growth in Meat Consumption

Devro Plc, Britain’s biggest maker of collagen sausage casings, said 2010 profit doubled as more meat was consumed in Latin America, East Europe and Asia and more manufacturers worldwide switched from gut-based to collagen skins.

Net income climbed to 42.2 million pounds ($68.5 million), or 25.3 pence a share, from 20.2 million pounds, or 12.2 pence a share, a year ago, the Chryston, U.K.-based company said in a statement today. Revenue rose 7.5 percent to 237 million pounds.

“Our strongest markets are China and Russia,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Page said in a conference call today.

China, the world’s most populous nation, is consuming more meat because of rising income among the middle-classes.

Devro announced today that one of its “most experienced directors” is moving to Hong Kong to exploit opportunities in China and south-east Asia.

Devro expects total sales volumes to grow 4 percent a year in line with the growth in demand for collagen casings, Peter Williams, the finance director, said on the call. The sausage casings maker plans to make a capital investment of 45 million pounds this year, which will increase production capacity by 8 percent in 2012 and 2013.

The extra investment will not require extra funds from shareholders, Devro said.

Adverse weather in December caused difficulties at Devro’s plants in the U.K., the U.S. and Australia and cut operating profit by about 600,000 pounds because of lower sales, higher costs and lost production.

Devro shares rose 11.7 pence, or 5 percent, the most in more than three months, to 243.7 pence at the 4:30 p.m. close in London trading. The stock has dropped 3.7 percent so far this year, giving the company a market value of 398.7 million pounds.

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