Airedale Catering Equipment Group entered the coronavirus pandemic on the back of record financial results, it can be revealed.
Latest accounts filed with Companies Houses this month show that in 2019 the Bradford-based distributor and services specialist generated an 11% increase in sales to £43.9m.
Operating profit during the year increased by 51% from £1.1m to £1.6m.
Airedale attributed the rise in turnover to increased activity on both the project and service side of the business. In the same year, it also snapped up Flowrite Refrigeration, which specialises in the service, maintenance and installation of air conditioning and refrigeration units.
Turning specifically to the impact of Covid-19, the report stated: “Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, the group has been exposed to additional risks due particularly to the impact on the hospitality sector, which has adversely affected the group’s sales, as well as the potential impact on its employees.
“However, the group has mitigated the reduction in turnover through utilisation of the government’s various support schemes and a tightening of controls over costs and working capital such that the impact on profitability and cashflow has been managed. The business has also carried out various health and safety measures in line with government guidance, in order to, as far as possible, keep its employees safe.”
CEO Rob Bywell told Catering Insight that the business had performed well across all segments in 2019 and described it as a “transformational” year given that the Flowrite acquisition strengthened its national service proposition.
Turning his attention to the past 12 months and his outlook moving forward, Mr Bywell said: “Whilst 2020 has been challenging for the sector, the response and support from our teams across our business has been exceptional.
“We have started 2021 not only fully committed to our core operations; design, manufacturing, installation and maintenance of commercial foodservice facilities, but with the capacity and intention to increase investment in our people and platform.
“We believe in the next 12 months the market will not only recover, but it will evolve. Owners and organisations will seek the opportunity to create long term value for their business and their customers through commercial collaboration as well as mergers and acquisitions.”