Briggs Equipment profits hit by sterling weakness
Profits at Staffordshire-based forklift supplier Briggs Equipment took a hit last year from the post-Brexit slump in the pound.
It also suffered a blow from the collapse of a major customer. But group turnover held steady and the company said it had made 'further progress' in developing its activities and increasing the breadth of the equipment it supplied and its engineering solutions.
The company, which employs 1,160 people and is based on Orbital Way in Cannock, is the UK's exclusive supplier of Hyster and Yale forklift trucks and machinery.
In its accounts for 2016, recently filed at Companies House, Briggs operating profit fell to £7.6m from £11.1m the year before.
"A significant component of this decrease arose from a foreign exchange deficit as a consequence of the weakness of sterling in the second half of the year.
"In addition, a major customer of the company went into administration during 2016 resulting in a loss of revenue and the recognition of write down provisions to cover anticipated losses arising on the disposal of the related equipment."
The cost to Briggs of the customer's administration was just over £1 million.
But strong growth from its BE Finance leasing division was reflected in a seven per cent hike in company earnings before exceptional costs, up to £54.1m.
Group turnover for 2016 was £179 million, but pre-tax profit was down to £2.4m from £7.2m in 2015.
In the directors' strategic report, Briggs said: "The company made further progress during the year in developing its existing activities and driving further differentiation through broadening its proposition in both the breadth of equipment supplied and the engineering solutions delivered.
"Turnover remained broadly static year on year. This reflects the increase in BE Finance activity levels as customers converted to monthly leasing revenues, offset by the consequential loss of upfront revenues had the equipment been financed externally.
"Revenues in all other business activities showed modest improvement over the prior year."