The Barkby Group PLC (AIM:BARK), the diversified business group, provides the following update on trading for the six months ended 31 December 2020.
Commenting Charles Dickson, Executive Chairman said;
"Barkby has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic largely due to the success of our highly cash generative commercial property development business and activity has resumed apace. As we come out of lockdown, our pubs and coffee business are poised for significant growth and a return to profitability. The Group's investments in SleepHub and Verso Biosense are performing well. Our liquidity is strong and the diversification of the business means that the Group is in a strong position to benefit from the lifting of government lockdown restrictions. We look forward to the next 12 months with confidence."
Current trading, post period end
· Commercial property division
o Recent exchange of contracts for the sale of development at Saffron Walden for £2.85m, generating a net profit of £1.8m with a net cash receipt of £1.0m expected to be received in summer 2021
o Exchange of contracts at Maldon to develop a 15,400 sq.ft. retail and trade scheme
Operational Highlights for the six months ended 31 December 2020
· Commercial property division
o Practical completion of Hastings development in August 2020 and completion of sale to Hastings Borough Council with a net balancing payment receipt of £1.8m
o Planning permission for 20,000 sq. ft. mixed use retail and trade scheme received at Wellingborough
· Barkby Pubs
o Pubs are currently not trading, but a path out of lockdown and a provisional date of 17 May 2021 set for re-opening gives cause for optimism
o Pubs materially impacted by COVID-19 and national lockdown, however traded well between July and October 2020, when lockdown in England was lifted
o Like-for-like sales down 3% between 1 July and 30 September 2020
o Like-for-like sales down 45% between 1 October and 31 December 2020 following re-imposition of trading restrictions
o Acquisition of a nine-year lease of The Harcourt Arms
o Actively looking for further opportunities to add to our pub portfolio
· Life Sciences
o Commercial launch of SleepHub in November 2020 with a number of commercial partnerships already secured
o Vivoplex renamed to Verso Biosense
Financial Highlights for the six months ended 31 December 2020
· Revenue for the six-month period to 31 December 2020 was £7.9m, with EBITDA loss of £1.1m and a net loss of £2.0m. This includes start-up expenses of £0.5m incurred in relation to Cambridge Sleep Sciences
· Following repayment of HSBC overdraft of £1.5m, £2.7m of new facilities have been secured including a £1.5m increase in the Tarncourt facility and an extension of its repayment date to 30 June 2023
· Liquidity of £1.4m available as at 28 February 2021.
Charles Dickson, Chairman of Barkby, said:
"Over the last 12 months our primary focus has been the wellbeing of our staff and customers and I would like to thank our team for their unwavering commitment during this unprecedented period. Despite the obvious challenges that the second half of the year presented, the team worked hard to position the business appropriately and we are looking forward to the future with confidence as the economy begins to unlock."
"Barkby has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic largely due to the success of our highly cash generative commercial property development business and activity has resumed apace. I am delighted to today announce the exchange of contracts for the sale of our development site at Saffron Walden."
"During the period, we took the opportunity to make a number of operational improvements in our pub business, which we expect to lead to higher margins once lockdown restrictions are lifted. As we come out of lockdown, our pubs and coffee business are poised for significant growth and a return to profitability.
"The Group also continues to deliver on its strategy of investing in growth businesses with the ability to disrupt and the investments in SleepHub and Verso Biosense are performing well and are on track. I am particularly excited about the potential of both businesses to supplement Group earnings for FY2022."
"Our liquidity is strong and the diversification of the business means that the Group is in a strong position to benefit from the lifting of government restrictions. I look forward to the next 12 months with increasing confidence."