Breedon showing signs of recovery after lockdown slump

Construction materials group Breedon said the recovery in demand for materials is well underway after sales last month recovered to 99 per cent of those in June 2019.

Breedon operates sites across the region
Breedon operates sites across the region

The firm, which has operations across Shropshire and the West Midlands, suffered a pre-tax loss of £10.1 million during the first half of the year compared to a £39.5 million profit last time as revenue slumped 25 per cent to £335.3 million.

Breedon shut down most of its operations and furloughed 80 per cent of staff as lockdown hit.

Sites started reopening in early May and by the end of June over 90 per cent plants were open with 82 per cent of staff back at work.

Pat Ward, group chief executive, said: “Following the encouraging performance of our businesses in the first 12 weeks of the year, the move into lockdown and immediate fall in demand in the latter part of March led us into a swift and managed shutdown of the majority of our operations, leaving open only those which were servicing critical needs.

“This decisive action ensured the protection of our employees, left our sites in a safe condition and also positioned us to return quickly to production when demand began to return in early May.

“The recovery in our markets now appears to be well underway, and we have seen continued improvement into July.

‘The great majority of our sites are now open, including both our cement plants.

“While near-term uncertainty remains, there is significant pent-up demand to be satisfied in both housing and infrastructure, reinforced by the substantial programme of investment confirmed by the Chancellor earlier this month.

“Looking to the longer-term, we believe the outlook for our markets remains positive, supporting our confidence in the prospects for the group.”

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