Blackburn-based distributor Acme Facilities Group has revealed its performance during the pandemic period was better than originally feared.
The business, part of the Pentland Group, has published its financial results on the Companies House website for the year ended 31 December 2020.
The figures show that turnover was hit by 40% from 2019’s £10.8m to £6.4m last year. And operating profit of £1.3m the previous year slipped by 96% to a slight loss of £46k.
Group MD Chris Allen told Catering Insight: “The last 18 months has been an incredibly challenging time for the industry and like most of our peers we put short term performance to one side and concentrated on retaining our financial and personnel strengths.
“We had to inevitably make some decisions around cost savings and initially took advantage of the furlough scheme whilst business activities were low. In the end 2020 finished a lot better than our original fears and gave us a confidence that even though it may take a couple of post-Covid years to get back to normal operating levels, it will.
“In terms of financial performance we were happy to operate at a profit before restructuring costs and as we have progressed through 2021 and as the long term picture has become a bit clearer the board and shareholders have decided to pay back all the furlough support.”
Within the annual report itself he detailed: “The turnover drop is entirely down to the effects of the Covid-19 global pandemic and during 2020 appropriate cost saving measures were undertaken to align with the in-year business activity. The small loss for the year includes some one-off exceptional costs related to a long-term cost-saving programme.
“With the closure of the retail and hospitality industry significantly impacting revenue over the past 12 months, we were grateful to access government support to protect as many jobs as possible. The directors are pleased with the post-pandemic measures that were put into place and resulting performance of the business.”
Sister supplier company, Pentland Wholesale, also posted its results for the same financial period, with revenue only reducing by 15%, from £14.1m in 2019 to £12.0m in 2020. Operating profit actually increased slightly by 0.3% year on year, from £1.29m to £1.30m.
Allen commented: “The directors are pleased to maintain profitability despite an inevitable Covid-19 turnover drop. Consolidation of the key supply chain and concentration on core activities has increased gross margin.
“With the ongoing impact of Covid-19 significantly impacting revenue over the past 12 months, we were grateful to access government support to protect as many jobs as possible. Given our improved confidence in the recovery, we have now repaid all government support received since the start of the crisis. The directors are pleased with the overall performance of the business.”
Meanwhile, Pentland’s integrated fabricator and ventilation canopy manufacturer, the Canopy Company, experienced a 28% turnover drop from £762k in 2019 to £550k in 2020.
Looking ahead, Allen predicted for all divisions: “Going forward, the directors expect Covid-19 to continue to have longstanding detrimental impacts within the wider economy and specifically into one of their key markets – hospitality.
“We are however expecting a significant uplift on 2020 activity levels and remain optimistic that the business will swiftly return to pre-pandemic revenues. Despite ongoing restrictions in the first half of 2021 the board are still confident of profit.
“The directors are planning for turnover reduction but are still confident of returning the business to profitability in 2021.”