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Tue August 16 2022

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Polypipe minimises redundancies after signs of revival

15 Sep 20 Polypipe Group, manufacturer of plastic pipes and drainage systems, has shown a first-half profit and not had to lay off as many people as it had first thought.

Polypipe drainage installation
Polypipe drainage installation

At its lowest point during the coronavirus crisis, Polypipe had 1,771 employees furloughed. By July it had identified 250 positions as at risk. In the end the number of redundancies was significantly fewer, at 104. All other employees have now returned to work.

For the six months ended 30th June 2020, Polypipe’s turnover fell 22% to £173.6m (2019 H1: £223.3m). Pre-tax profit was all but wiped out, falling from £31.4m last time to just £2.3m this time, but the red ink was dodged.

Job retention scheme money will be reimbursed to the government for those employees made redundant (£700,000) and Polypipe will not use the job retention bonus scheme planned to be available from February 2021.

Since April's low point of revenue 66% below 2019 levels, June was down 19%, July 6% and August 3%, which is better than had been feared in May when the board acted to raise £120m equity.

Chief executive Martin Payne said: "I want to thank all our colleagues for their dedication, hard work and support through what have been unprecedented times for all of us. I am particularly proud of the way they have rallied to support their local communities despite their own circumstances. We manufactured visors and distributed them and other surplus PPE into local NHS and care homes, supported the Nightingale programme and other repurposing of NHS facilities for care and recovery, and contributed to many other local initiatives that have made a difference. The health and wellbeing of our colleagues, our customers and our communities remains an absolute priority, and we will continue to operate to the highest standards possible.”

He continued: “The group has traded robustly through the crisis with continued improvement in trading in recent months. The early actions we took to secure liquidity have positioned the group to be able to capitalise on opportunities as they arise during the recovery, as well as continue investing in new product development in line with our strategy.  We have a balanced exposure to the different elements of the UK construction market which provides resilience, and strong medium-term growth drivers. Whilst we remain mindful of the various risks to the UK's economic recovery, I am confident the group is well positioned for the future."

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