Latham(James) PLC – LTHM – Final Results

Latham(James) PLC – LTHM – Final Results

Chairman's statement


I am pleased to report good trading results for the financial year to 31 March 2020


Revenue for the financial year to 31 March 2020 was £247.1m, up 5.1% on last year's £235.1m. Like for like volumes increased by 1.8%, with the growth mainly on delivered business from our own warehouses, with a reduction in direct volumes shipped from the ports or from the manufacturers. The cost price of our products steadily fell throughout the year, ending the year 3.3% lower than the comparative twelve months. Abbey Wood in Ireland has been successfully integrated into the Lathams business and is now starting to provide a useful contribution to the Group's results.


Gross profit for the financial year to 31 March 2020 was 17.6% compared with 17.2% in the previous financial year. This figure includes warehouse costs, which have increased due to extended working hours with four of our depots now working 24 hours a day and further investment in our racking systems.


Profit before tax is £15.7m, up £0.4m on last year's £15.3m. Profit after tax for the year is £12.5m, up from last year's £12.4 m


Earnings per share is 63.1p (2019: 63.1p). Adjusted earnings per ordinary share (see Note 5), adjusted for the effect on the introduction of IFRS 16 on Leasing this year and the previous year's results of the property profit and the one off cost relating to Guaranteed Minimum Pensions were 64.0p (2019: 61.6p) an increase of 3.9%.


As at 31 March 2020 net assets have increased to £104.3m (2019: £98.0m). We have adopted IFRS 16 on Leasing in these results, which has had an insignificant effect on profit before. Non current assets have increased by £7.5m from 31 March 2019. £4.9m of this increase relates to the creation of a new asset class of Right of Use Assets relating to the introduction of IFRS 16 on Leasing. In addition we acquired Dresser Mouldings (Rochdale) Ltd for cash consideration of £1.0m, and have also invested £1.0m in redeveloping the Gateshead warehouse. Inventory levels have increased to £44.3m from £42.4m last year. Trade receivables at the year end were £4.4m higher than the previous year as we saw a reduction in cash received at the end of March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However trade receivables have now returned close to normal levels. There was another low bad debt charge of 0.20% of turnover for the year. Cash and cash equivalents of £17.0m (2019: £15.5m), remain strong with good cash flows from operating activities.


At 31 March 2020 the deficit of the defined benefit scheme under IAS19 (revised) was £11.8m, up £3.1m compared with £8.7m last year. The calculation of the pension deficit remains very sensitive to changes in assumptions, and was affected by the reduction in market values of investments at the end of March.


Final dividend


The Board has declared a final dividend of 10.0p per Ordinary Share (2019: 12.9p). The dividend is payable on 4 September 2020 to ordinary shareholders on the Company's register at close of business on 7 August 2020. The ex-dividend date will be 6 August 2020. The total dividend per ordinary share of 15.5p for the year (2019: 17.9p) is covered 4.1 times by earnings (2019: 3.5 times). The board considers this level of dividend to be prudent given the balance between the good results achieved in the year to 31 March 2020 and the difficult market conditions experienced during the first quarter of the current financial year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Current and future trading


The board responded quickly and decisively to protect the business and the employees from COVID-19, with quick action to reduce costs where possible, manage the stock and preserve cash. COVID-19 has had a considerable affect on the start of our trading year. We remained open at most of our distribution sites to support NHS projects and other essential services, as well as servicing our customers that managed to remain open. April was a particularly challenging month with sales at 40% of April 2019 sales. We have seen more customers coming back to work throughout May, with positive trends on numbers of orders taken and total number of trading customers, with sales at 60% of May 2019 sales. This positive trend is continuing in June, and sales are expected to be 80% of June 2019 sales. I have been incredibly pleased at how our staff have managed to work through this challenging period, and the resilience of the business. The skill of our senior staff with the support of the board has undoubtedly limited the negative impact of COVID-19 on the business. The full impact of the virus and the effect on the wider economy are impossible to predict at this stage.


Development Strategy


The board believes that there are plenty of opportunities to develop and grow our business. The strength of the business will allow us to avoid the worst of any potential downturn in the economy and seize on any opportunities to further develop the business. We will continue to look to grow the business through any suitable acquisitions to support key market sectors and also identify new products in market sectors where we are focussing our efforts. We will continue to invest in our warehouses and extend the working day at our depots to ensure that we meet the future delivery needs of our existing and new customers. Our focus will be on completing the Gateshead site development, and a significant racking project at our Thurrock facility. We have also fast tracked our on line presence project, and the use of technology as we look to drive more efficiencies into our business, to ensure we are in the best place possible to deal with the future. There are clearly challenges as we enter a post Brexit and COVID-19 world, but the board remains confident that the Company is in a position of strength which will allow us to plan for a positive future.





Nick Latham


30 June 2020

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