Chairman David Shearer said: “The group reacted quickly to manage its cost base and cash resources following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. Our UK and Ireland operations have remained open, and we have continued to serve our customers nationally, albeit from a reduced depot footprint… Our revenues declined initially, but are recovering as we have seen customers returning to work.”
His comments came as Speedy posted financial results for the year to 31st March 2020 showing 3% growth in turnover to £402.5m (2019: £389.2m) but pre-tax profit down 28% to £20.7m (2019: £28.7m).
The bottom line was impaired by £12.9m of exceptional items, mostly related to Geason Training, which has “not performed in line with expectations”. Adjusted profit before tax increased to £34.9m (2019: £31.4m).
Geason Training, acquired in December 2018, suffered from “lower than expected learner enrolments, the setup of a number of regional training centres which have yet to reach critical mass and a poor control environment,” said Speedy chief executive Russell Down. “More recently the business has been further affected by an assurance visit from a funding agency and market conditions due to Covid-19. All goodwill and contingent consideration payable in relation to the acquisition has been written off and we have provided for amounts which may become repayable as a result of the assurance visit. The strategy remains to grow a profitable training business, and consequently the group has implemented a number of management changes and is reviewing further initiatives to improve its financial position.”
On the group performance as a whole, Russell Down said: “Whilst Covid-19 will have some financial impact on the business, I am reassured by our performance in the last three months. We are well placed to emerge in a position of strength to pursue our strategic objectives as more normal trading levels return.”