SIG makes a £125.4m pre-tax loss in first half

Grant Prior 4 years ago
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Materials distribution giant SIG has posted a pre-tax loss of £125.4m from a turnover of £840m during the first six months of this year.

During the same period last year SIG made a £2.3m profit from revenue of £1,113m but full year results for 2019 revealed a pre-tax loss of £112.7m.

A new management team is now in place with a new growth strategy but still expects to make a loss in the  second half of the year “at a lower rate.”

SIG said: “With a strong executive team in position, and the strengthening of the senior management teams across a number of areas of the business over the past few months, particularly in the UK and Germany, the Board is confident that the Group will deliver a significant improvement in its operational and financial performance over the medium term and achieve its vision of being the leading B2B distributor of specialist construction products in the markets in which it operates.”

Underlying operating losses were £43.2m as SIG was hit by the industry-wide slump in sales due to the pandemic.

Other items hitting the bottom line included impairment charges of £42.8m reflecting the impact of Covid-19 on the UK business.

Steve Francis, Chief Executive Officer, said: “In mid-summer, we concluded the successful restructure of our financing facilities and a £165m capital raise. These, along with our careful management of working capital and cash in recent months, have created a sound financial base on which we can rebuild the business.

“The new management team has started to execute its strategy and implement its organisational model, which focuses on our local branch teams, enabling growth and returning to active industry leadership.

“Long term fundamentals remain sound in the Group’s markets across Europe.  In the short term, significant economic uncertainty remains in all of our markets, although government stimulus for the construction sector, notably in the UK, is welcome.

“Trading was better than anticipated during the peak lockdown months of March to May, compared to our initial estimates of the possible Covid-19 impact, and the Board now expects full year sales to be moderately higher than guided in May.

“Group sales in July and August were encouraging although down year on year, and market share losses during 2019, particularly in the UK distribution business, will take time to recover.

“The second half of 2020 is expected to remain loss making, but at a lower rate than the first despite some increased pressure on gross margin in the UK. 

“I am extremely encouraged by the energy and excitement with which our people have embraced the new strategy and by the initial progress made in a short space of time.”

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