AFE Group, the parent company of brands Williams, Falcon, Mono, Millers Vanguard and Serviceline, has posted a subdued set of results for the 12 months ending 31 August 2018.
According to the group’s latest annual report, available from Companies House, turnover dipped by nearly 2%, from £123.6m in 2017 to this year’s £121.2m, though this still represents the second highest revenue the company has posted.
Likewise, operating profit slid 9% from £13.6m to £12.4m for the Ali Group member.
The directors pinned the decline in revenue on “reduced capital equipment spend seen from our UK supermarket client base” and further stated: “The mixed UK economic outlook is creating uncertainties in consumer confidence and spend that gave rise to increased challenges and a cautionary market outlook to elements of the UK casual dining market.”
The report then analysed: “The eating out landscape is rapidly evolving with new demographic and consumer trends giving rise to increased crossover between market segments such as food-to-go and home delivery services. The emerging trends and innovation in dining experiences offer a continued opportunity for business development and growth prospects in the year ahead.”
Of the profit reduction, the directors commented: “We predicted that 2018 would see cautionary and changeable market conditions that would impact on new business opportunities. The competitive headwinds and outcomes of currency-led cost increases and inflationary employment costs have been absorbed within the business, hence impacting upon operating margins and profitability levels.”
As the AFE Group imports and exports goods across the EU, it also discussed the topic of Brexit: “AFE Group businesses are preparing for the possibility on no agreement and the resultant risks of border delays, customs processing and obligations to comply with any new regulations.
“We are working with our European and international suppliers in order to maintain continuity of production and supply through increased inventory and warehousing.”
Furthermore, the report updated the figures on the Mono Equipment pension scheme funding. The deficit has now reduced from £5.4m, as valued at 29 March 2017, to £4.7m in the latest valuation, of 29 March 2018. A new deficit recovery plan has been agreed with scheme trustees with the aim of the shortfall being paid off by 31 March 2027.