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Trailer company is carrying on nicely despite downturn

Retlan Manufacturing is registered in Toomebridge. The group is a diverse holding company with a number of engineering subsidiary companies specialising in the manufacture and sale of commercial trailers, as well as the sale of commercial vehicle and trailer parts.

The group has recently been trading successfully. Turnover fell sharply in the year to March 2010 and since then has recovered to earlier levels and has now expanded further in the most recent trading year. Group turnover in 2011, at £101m, was close to the previous peak of £104m in 2008. Annual turnover has now reached nearly £114m.

Operating profits improved in the year to March 2013 to reach £3.2m. Pre-tax profits, after deducting net interest charges and any exceptional items, also recovered in 2013 to £2.8m.

A feature of the trailer business for Retlan and its subsidiary SDC is the inclusion in some sale agreements of group guarantees or other recourse arrangements. In some cases this allows the purchaser an option to return the asset after a defined period of time. This potential amount is included in the statement of creditors and the residual value is shown within debtors.

No dividends were paid in 2011. Then dividends of £439,000 were allocated in 2012, followed by dividends of £1,553,000 in the most recent year. The remaining post-tax profits, excluding dividends, are retained in the group and transferred to the accumulated reserves.

Eleven subsidiary companies are owned by the group. Several of the subsidiaries are dormant. In Northern Ireland, the group owns 100% of the shares in MDF Engineering and SDC Trailers. In Great Britain, the Group owns FP&S Parts and Services as well as Northern Trailers Sales.

Employment in the group has varied from year to year, averaging 600 people most recently. This is a significant increase from 2010, although is still less than the higher total of 666 people in jobs in 2008.

The value of stocks held by the group, at £12.3m, has remained stable in recent years, reaching 11% of turnover in 2013, fractionally higher than a year earlier but much lower than at the end of 2011, when they represented nearly 14% of turnover.

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