After the underlying operating loss of £43m in the first half o 2020 (and £125.4m pre-tax), the underlying operating loss for the full year is set to be in the range of £57m-61m.
Revenues in the second half of the year were down 2% on 2019, which was ahead of the board's previous expectations. Fourth quarter sales were up 4% compared to 2019 Q4.
“Whilst the evolving Covid-19 backdrop will continue to create uncertainty in the short term, the fundamentals of the Group's markets remain sound and the strong recovery in demand across territories and sectors through the second half was encouraging,” the board said.
It expects to get the business back into profit in the latter part of 2021.
“Providing there is no material disruption to either our business or end markets as a result of the pandemic, the board expects the near term benefits of the actions taken in 2020 to deliver organic revenue growth in 2021, including market share gains. The benefits of this will become increasingly evident as the year progresses and should enable us to return to underlying operating profitability during the second half,” it said.