Ibstock swings to a loss

Brick manufacturer Ibstock swung to a loss in 2020, but it is seeing an improvement in its performance so far in 2021.

Ibstock produces concrete products and has sites in Cannock and Walsall
Ibstock produces concrete products and has sites in Cannock and Walsall

The FTSE 250-listed manufacturer of clay bricks and concrete products said revenue declined by 23 per cent in 2020 to £316 million from £409 million, resulting in it swinging to a pre-tax loss of £24 million from the £82 million profit reported in 2019.

The group, which has sites in Cannock and Walsall, noted that its revenue performance reflects the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, with significant reductions in both the clay division, down 29 per cent, and concrete division, down five per cent.

Meanwhile, profit was further hurt by exceptional costs of £36 million, principally related to Covid-19 and restructuring.

Joe Hudson, Ibstock CEO, said: “2020 was a testing year, as Covid-19 created some exceptional challenges for our business and our people. The health and wellbeing of colleagues, customers and business partners were paramount throughout, and I would like to thank them all for their impressive response to the pandemic and their ongoing effort and commitment.

“Through the actions we have taken, the group has entered the new financial year with a stronger operational platform in place and a clear focus on the strategic drivers that will re-establish growth and create sustainable, long term earnings momentum in the business.

“Market demand recovered faster than our expectations as we progressed through 2020, and trading in the initial period of 2021 has started well, with clay sales volumes slightly ahead of the run rates achieved in quarter four 2020. While we remain mindful of the economic uncertainties and disruption associated with Covid-19, we are encouraged by the strength of trading over recent weeks and are confident for the year ahead.

“Looking further forward, market fundamentals remain supportive, underpinned by the UK housing deficit, government policy and low interest rates. With a strong management team, clarity on the strategic drivers which will underpin our progress and continued recovery in our core markets, we believe that Ibstock is well placed to re-establish positive earnings momentum and deliver sustainable, profitable growth over the medium term.”

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