Margin improvement at shopfitter

Loss halved as public sector helps Havelock

David RitchieFife shop and office fitter Havelock Europa has cut its losses and seen the benefits of strong public sector demand.

The Kirkcaldy based listed company saw operating loss before tax more than halved at the interim stage from £1.6 million to £700,000.

Public sector orders made up some of the shortfall from the downturn in corporate activity and a weaker retail sector, though revenue slipped from £28.9m to £25.4m.

Investment in the new business structure, which included a number of job losses, led to a small increase in net debt to £3.6m at the half year (2015: £3.1m).

The company said business reorganisation is on track, with main cost savings delivered. It added that the vote for Britain to leave the European Union and subsequent political developments have “increased the market uncertainty across our customer base”.

Pricing pressure has increased post the Brexit vote and acctivity within the retail and lifestyle sector remains “subdued”.

However, the company said trading remains in line with market expectations.

David Ritchie, chief executive (pictured), said: “I am pleased to be able to report that, largely due to the actions we took last year to right size the business and standardise business processes, the business has benefited from strong margin improvement which has led to a significant reduction in the first half loss compared to last year.

“In addition, strong demand from the public sector has helped to offset weakness in retail and the expected downturn in the corporate sector.”

Operational Highlights

·    Anticipated overhead reductions achieved, with further savings being identified and realised.

·    The drive to simplify and standardise the business has resulted in strong margin improvement against H1 2015.

·    Higher Public Sector volumes offsetting reduced Corporate Sector and Retail and Lifestyle demand.

·    Developed new Retail and Lifestyle customers in the period, growing a significant pipeline of opportunities.

·    Expanded design capability to help develop the new customer pipeline and the launch of a London design office to further increase coverage.

·    International sales delivering over 15% of turnover.

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