Plant and tool hire chain Speedy has posted annual results ahead of expectations, representing a solid come-back from the initial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speedy ended the year to 31st March 2021 with revenues back at pre-Covid levels and has started the current year ahead of 2019.
Revenue for the year (excluding disposals) was down 11% to £359.4m (2020: £402.5m), while pre-tax profit was down 41% to £12.3m (2020: £20.7m).
However, operating profit was up 21% to £17.0m (2020: £14.0m) and net debt was reduced during the year from £79.3m to £33.2m.
After a tricky start to the year with the first national lockdown – revenue fell 35% in April 2020 – Speedy recovered progressively, with hire revenue up 4% on a like for like basis in the fourth quarter. Utilisation improved in the second half to 58.8% (2020: 55.9%).
Speedy initially closed two-thirds of its network in April 2020 but by September the network was operating at full capacity again following a review of the depot footprint. This resulted in the permanent closure of 13 depots and the consolidation of a further 22 depots into larger service centres. Approximately 200 staff were laid off. As a result, there were £5.6m of exceptional property related costs and £1.9m of redundancy costs incurred during the year.