Belfast Telegraph

Scrap metal price fall impacts on waste firm

By John Simpson

Clearway Holdings is a group holding company which is parent to a number of other active subsidiaries which specialise in the handling and disposal of waste materials and the recycling of ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Clearway Holdings is the parent company of Clearway Disposals and Aughrim Landfill, both registered in Northern Ireland, and Hammond Lane Metal, registered in Dublin.

A group of subsidiaries were bought in 2005 in a deal which, at the time, was worth over £71m and included goodwill of £34m.

The group and its subsidiaries are owned by shareholders from one family.

Annual turnover in the last five years has fluctuated sharply, peaking in 2008 at nearly £190m and falling to £89m in 2009.

The large fall in 2009 and the recovery in 2010 were attributed to changes in world metal prices which, in turn, affected the revenue from metal recovery processes.

After a recovery to annual turnover of £155m in 2011, the most recent year experienced a fall to £122m. This decrease is caused by a decrease in world metal prices and a decrease in the availability of scrap metal. Nevertheless, the directors are cautiously optimistic for trading in 2013.

In the years up to 2010, operating profits were usually above 10% of turnover.

In the last two years, reflecting the fall in prices for scrap metals, operating profits and pre-tax profits have fallen sharply. Interest charges have been met each year, reducing pre-tax profits to less than operating profits.

Operating profits in 2012 were seriously influenced by the fall in the revenue from processed scrap metals but also show two further major items.

A successful outcome to a legal case brought an exceptional income item of just over £5m.

This was alongside the cost of a separate special provision of £1.1m.

Employment in the group has recently been relatively stable at nearly 150 people each year although in 2012 it increased by 11% to an average of 165 people.

The balance sheet value of shareholders' funds has remained fairly stable in the last three years, having risen to almost £94m in December 2010 and, at the end of 2012, falling slightly to £93.2m.

Belfast Telegraph

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