Powered access firm Lavendon, of Lutterworth, raises profits to £20.8m
A company which rents out powered access platforms is continuing to bounce back from the impact of the recession by increasing profits by 26 per cent.
Lutterworth-based group Lavendon has reported a rise in pre-tax profits from £14.2 million to £20.8 million in the year to December 31, 2012.
During the same period, the group's revenue went up by four per cent, from £225.4 million to £234.6 million.
Lavendon, which employs 200 people at its base in Central Park, supplies its equipment to a variety of customers needing to work safely at height, including the construction industry, media companies filming outdoors and companies installing huge wind turbines.
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It operates in Germany, Belgium, France and the Middle East as well as the UK where it trades as Nationwide Platforms, with a 30 per cent share of the market.
Chief executive Don Kenny said the company's financial results reflected a "stable and robust" performance.
He said: "The group made good progress during 2012 with results for the year at the top end of our expectations despite challenging trading conditions in our European markets.
"The board remains confident of its expectations for the year as a whole and believes we are well positioned to deliver another year of financial progress."
These results reflect Mr Kenny's first financial year in charge after joining the company at the beginning of 2011.
When he arrived as group chief executive a year ago, Lavendon was emerging from a tough period, having borrowed money cheaply and grown rapidly during the good times before the recession hit.
The business is halfway through a five-year Fit For the Future programme which has included reducing debt and operating costs.
This year, debt was reduced to £97.3 million from £106.6 million – a drop of 9 per cent.
Having brought its debt down to a manageable level, Mr Kenny said the company had invested £49.7 million upgrading its fleet this year.
He said: "That's a big thing that has changed – we have spent a lot of money on buying new fleet to help our expansion.
"We have spent £30 million more on capital expenditure this year and that was part of the plan once we had got the debt down, to renew the fleet. We intend to renew the fleet in 2013 and 2014 but at the same time the debt will continue to nudge down.
"We are creating a stable and robust business and are now entering the second phase of polishing and shining."
The Middle East, which is experiencing a construction boom, continued to be a profitable market for the group.
But Mr Kenny said the UK and French markets were also performing well, despite economic difficulties.
"The UK is very profitable for us. Although we may not be getting the top line growth we are in the Middle East, the UK really is a cracking business."
Mr Kenny said he was expecting profits to rise this year at least in line with expectations.
"We like to under-promise and over-deliver," he said.