Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Retlan Manufacturing Ltd

By John Simpson

Retlan Manufacturing is a holding company with interests in a number of engineering companies specialising in the manufacture and sale of commercial trailers as well as the sale of commercial vehicle and trailer parts.

The group is registered in Toomebridge.

The group has been trading successfully in recent years although turnover fell sharply in the year to March 2010 before recovering to earlier levels in the more recent trading year. Group turnover, at £101m, was close to the peak of £104m in 2008.

Operating profits also improved in the year to March 2011 to reach £2.8m. However, operating profits were lower than the higher levels recorded between 2006 and 2008. Pre-tax profits, after deducting net interest charges and any exceptional items, recovered in 2011 to £1.6m following a small pre-tax loss a year earlier.

As the business has developed in the past decade, the group has been able to use increasing levels of borrowed funds which in March 2011 reached some £22m.

A feature of the trailer business is the inclusion of some sale agreements where the group has provided guarantees or other recourse arrangements. In some cases this allows the purchaser an option to return the asset after a defined period of time.

Post-tax profits have been retained in the group and transferred to the accumulated reserves. Following a dividend payment of £1.1m in 2010, no dividends have been recommended in the more recent year.

Nine subsidiary companies are owned by the group. Five 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 averages 567, a fall from the record 666 staff in 2008.