SIG management blunders rack-up £112.7m loss

Grant Prior 6 months ago
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Materials distribution giant SIG made a pre-tax loss of £112.7m last year following a series of management failures leading to a fall in market share.

Accountants PwC were called in earlier this year to investigate divisional financial forecasting issues which left the Board “unsighted as to the overall picture.”

The company is now vowing to grow the business again with the long-term aim of hitting 5% margins.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Francis,who took up the role in February, said: “After nearly a decade of contraction, which has included disposals, rationalisation, debt and cost reduction, it is now time to focus on how to grow SIG and rebuild our core USPs of customer proximity, service and expertise.

“We play an important role in the construction industry, providing a channel through which suppliers can bring their products to a fragmented customer base conveniently and efficiently.

“I firmly believe that our new strategy for growth will provide the basis, not only for the restoration of profit and cash conversion, but also serve as a foundation to play a leading role in our industry in the years to come.

“Since my appointment as CEO on 25 February, we have been developing a new strategy and organisational model which focuses on people, growth and active industry leadership.

“The essence of our new strategy is re-connection with our people – employees, customers, suppliers and the communities in which we do business – we are a local, sales and service-driven business.

“The new management team will empower our customer-facing people and promote an entrepreneurial spirit throughout the Group, thereby re-connecting with our customers and suppliers, re-energising our highly talented employees, and re-setting the growth ambition of SIG.”

The impact of Covid-19 saw 2,000 staff furloughed and group revenues fall £138.9m during March and April from the prior year – a drop of 37%.

SIG said trading is “now returning to pre Covid-19 levels in most of its operating companies as the group adapted swiftly to new social distancing protocols.”

Turnover this year is expected to be £500m down on 2019 and not return to those levels until 2022.

An underlying pre-tax profit last year of £20.6m was sunk by impairment charges of £90.9m, restructuring costs of £27.1m, and other costs of £9.5m.

The impairment charges of £90.9m (2018: £4.0m) principally relate to impairment of goodwill in relation to UK Distribution (£57.4m) and France Exteriors (Lariviere) (£32.2m).

SIG also confirmed that US private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice is investing £85m in the business in return for a 25% stake.

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