A leading Cumbrian business has reported interim profits of £1 million in the six months to December 31.
H&H Group said despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, its interim results show a positive outlook for the firm.
The group’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation amounted to £1,554,000, which resulted in a profit before tax of £1,042,000 against £302,000 for the corresponding period in 2019 on turnover which increased by over six per cent from £7.2 million to £7.6 million.
Richard Rankin, chief executive, said: “I am pleased to report that despite the challenging set of circumstances from the pandemic, these are a fantastic set of results, and huge testament to the team and the hard work everyone has put in.
“We are well ahead of our budget for the first half of the year, which, given the current unprecedented context we find ourselves in still represents a 50 per cent uplift in our profits over 2019.
“This is even after discounting the monies received through furlough and the rates relief we’ve enjoyed, and validates the strategic goals we set ourselves a year ago.”
“All of our businesses and people have made significant adjustments to continue trading in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.
“However, this ability to adapt quickly has ensured our continued success in steering our business through these circumstances, together with the abovementioned financial aid of CJRS/Furlough and Rates Relief assistance.
“Harrison and Hetherington, our farmstock business, has benefitted from both improved values and increased volumes.
“It has been continuing to adapt and refine new ways of working both through the marts and digitally during the challenging times. The business shows additional turnover in excess of £600,000 over 2019, and it continues to grow strength and develop its market presence.
“Both H&H Insurance Brokers and H&H Land & Estates, our land and property business, have shown ongoing growth and improvement resulting in positive results. Both teams are well ahead of budget and on previous years.
“The housing market remains unsteady and although currently benefitting from the stamp duty holiday, with this due to end in March the year ahead is difficult to predict.
“However, we expect improvement when the current COVID-19 restrictions end, as evidenced by growth when these were lifted in the summer.
“H&H Reeds, our creative design, digital and print company, has suffered most since the outbreak of COVID.
“Many businesses, especially in tourism, had to close their doors and this had an immediate effect.
“Despite skilful management of the workforce and furlough scheme, and grasping all possible opportunities, the business saw a loss for the end of the first half of the year.
“Again, with the end of lockdown, we expect that there will be a return to growth in the economy – and our printing, signage and digital team remain ready to support this.
“In terms of dividends and shares, the average share price in the period was £24.17 against £25.53 for the same period last year.
“Whilst this shows a fall we can also report that, at the most recent auction of shares on 6th November 2020 the average price of shares sold was £25.94.
“This is in the right direction, however, the price still lags behind tracking the increase in net assets of the group, which have increased to £20.3m from £17.4m at the same point last year.
“There is no reason to suppose that we will not be able to maintain this, and hit budget for the final 6 months, if not exceed it.
“My prediction all things being well, we will finish very strongly towards the end of the year.
“What remains a certainty, however, is that we, as a group of companies, have consistently added value and helped protect the rural and farming industries for generations.
“Our aim is to continue to do so, helping businesses to recover where necessary, and build for the future.”