August 24, 2018 / 1:35 AM / 8 months ago

Australia's Brambles to demerge IFCO arm, shares surge

Aug 24 (Reuters) - Australian pallets and container firm Brambles said on Friday it intends to demerge and list its IFCO Systems reusable-plastic-containers (RPC) business and that it was also weighing selling IFCO, sending its shares to one-and-a-half-year highs.

Brambles had in 2010 purchased then Germany-listed IFCO, maker of reusable plastic containers for transporting fresh produce, for about $1.3 billion.

“The separation is consistent with Brambles’ core strategic priorities and will deliver a value creation opportunity for shareholders,” Chairman, Stephen Johns, said in a statement.

Brambles shares surged over 9 percent to their highest level since January 2017 and saw their steepest intraday climb in two-and-a-half years.

“It (IFCO RPC) is well positioned for its future as an independent company with a singular focus,” said Brambles’ Chief Executive, Graham Chipchase.

The company posted a 4 percent rise in its full-year underlying profit from continuing operations to $996.7 million, at actual forex rates, helped by strong sales contributions from businesses including IFCO, it said in a separate statement.

Statutory post-tax profit more than quadrupled from the previous year, driven by a $127.9 million tax benefit from the recent U.S. tax reform as well as an impairment charge that had impacted fiscal 2017 results.

The company also said it would undertake an evaluation of its capital structure as part of the planned IFCO separation and that further information on the separation will be communicated in due course, including the listing location for IFCO. (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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