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Wed May 29 2024

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Forterra brick sales rebound to 90% normal

10 Sep 20 Masonry products manufacturer Forterra is sounding optimistic despite posting a half-year loss of £23.3m.

In the six months to 30th June 2020 Forterra saw its revenue drop 37% to £122.4m (2019 H1: £193.6m). Last year’s first-half pre-tax profit of £32.7m became a pre-tax loss of £23.3m this time.

However, the board said that trading since emerging from lockdown has ‘exceeded management expectations’ and production has now resumed at all factories.

July and August sales revenues were at 89% and 82% of prior year respectively; brick and block revenues were better that 90% of last year’s numbers in July and August.

The half-year accounts include exceptional items of £21.0m, comprising impairment charges of £16.2m, restructuring costs of £4.4m and debt-refinancing costs of £0.4m.

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These costs included mothballing the former Bison hollowcore facility in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, for which Forterra paid Laing O’Rourke £20m in 2017.

Construction of the new Desford brick manufacturing facility in Leicestershire continued through lockdown although the facility is now likely to be completed six months later than originally anticipated with commissioning now expected to commence towards the end of 2022. 

Chief executive Stephen Harrison said: "Inevitably, our results were heavily impacted by Covid-19 and the associated lockdown. We took swift action to ensure the wellbeing of our employees as demand for our products fell dramatically and we ceased production at the majority of our facilities. We also acted decisively to manage our cost base and ensure sales and production remained balanced. We have now substantially completed a range of restructuring actions and production has now resumed at all our factories.

"I am pleased to report that trading since emerging from lockdown has exceeded management's expectations and we remain very confident in the long-term recovery of our markets. Subject to a continuation of current trading conditions and there being no further Covid-19 driven disruption, the board expects full year EBITDA, stated before exceptional items, to be in the range of £27m-£32m."

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