Vp back at 89% of 2019 activity

08 December 2020

Vp plc, the UK-based owner of Brandon Hire Station, Groundforce, UK Forks and other rental businesses, has reported a 24% fall in revenues to £142.1 million for the six months to 30 September.

Profits before tax and excluding exceptional items were down 67% to £8.6 million. It posted a £6.0 million loss after exceptional costs of £13 million.

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Vp plc’s businesses include UK Forks.

The business also announced it would increase its provision for potential fines relating to the previously reported investigation into anti-competitive behaviour at its Groundforce division.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has yet to rule on the case. VP has added £10.87 million to its original provision of £4.5 million and said it was co-operating fully with CMA.

The UK business had returned to 89% of previous year levels by October, with the recovery strongest at MEP, Torrent and TPA (both in UK and Europe), while its ESS Safeforce business also enjoyed a “good recovery”.

Brandon Hire Station has been slower to recover, said Vp, “but has seen a sustained revenue improvement as the branch network fully re-opened from August onwards.” Twenty three of its branches were merged or closed during the six months, and it still has 162 locations in operation. Since October the business has had no UK staff on the government’s furlough scheme.

The international division, comprising Airpac Bukom and TR Group, were also impacted by the pandemic. The oil and gas sector remained open, but Airpac Bukom saw contracts delayed, postponed or cancelled. TR Group in Australia and New Zealand continued to trade, but saw restrictions on its business. Vp said it expected to see a recovery heading into 2021.

Jeremy Pilkington, Chairman of Vp plc, said; “Vp’s businesses are gradually recovering towards prior year trading levels, buoyed by the positive medium-term outlook for infrastructure investment in the UK.

“The Group remains in excellent financial condition and is well positioned to take advantage of the uplift in demand and return the business to its historic levels of profitability. The Board is optimistic but also realistic about prospects for the second half and beyond.

“On behalf of the Board I would like to extend a thank you to all our employees, both within the UK and internationally, for their spirit, hard work and determination in the face of unique challenges and uncertainties.”

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