Change at the top continues at Eden-based property firm PFK, the chairman of which is to stand down at its annual meeting next month.
The move follows a number of comings and goings at the company board since the start of 2020.
In his statement to shareholders, outgoing chairman John Rowlands also reveals that PFK made a profit before tax — excluding property revaluations and dispersals — of £125,120 in 2020, compared with a loss of £241,958 in 2019.
Not since 2014 has a profit been achieved.
Mr Rowlands says the 2020 profit was achieved despite a reduction of rental income of £73,324 — from £256,222 in 2019 — and one-off costs totalling more than £100,000 associated with redundancies and the disposal of assets.
The firm closed its Kirkby Stephen, Whitehaven and Carlisle city centre branch offices and its Penrith furniture and antiques sale room, and employs 58 people compared with 63 in 2019.
The company received government grants totalling £251,097 in connection with the pandemic, with Mr Rowlands expressing the hope this income can be replaced through “trading environment improvements and changes we have implemented within the business”.
It is also noted that PFK is engaged in selling its site at Stoneybeck, near J41 of the M6, with Mr Rowlands saying a sale price has been agreed – although he warns that problems could still arise.
On his decision to resign as chairman of the company and from its board, which he joined more than five years ago, he said: “I feel I am leaving the company in very capable hands, with the remaining executive and non-executive board members having the optimal technical and financial skillsets.”
Due to take over as chairman is Bernard Wharam, a businessman in the motor industry who has been a PFK board member for four
He will head a board which has already seen the resignation of three members since last June, including former managing director Stephen Lancaster, who earned about £150,000 a year and oversaw four years of operating losses.
He was replaced internally by Andrew Green, a chartered surveyor who runs the land agency business.
Overall, PFK had a turnover of £2,432,417 in 2020 and returned a profit after tax of £407,593, compared with a bottom line of £512,051 on a turnover of £2,541,370 the previous year.
A public limited company, its share price has fallen to £22 — down by 31 per cent from its 2018 high of £32.12.
It has 318,233 shares in circulation, valuing the business at £7 million.