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Premier Electrics optimistic despite profits and turnover jolt


Director Tony Shivers

Director Tony Shivers

Director Tony Shivers

An electrical contractor in Mid-Ulster has said it's well-placed to weather Covid-19 despite an immediate hit from the closure of sites at the start of the pandemic.

Premier Electrics in Bellaghy reported an 11% fall in turnover to £43.9m in its accounts for the year ending March 31, 2020, while pre-tax profits fell 17% to £4.7m. The workforce rose slightly from 73 to 76.

The business carries out commercial, industrial, retail and office electrical fit-outs in the UK, Ireland and Europe.

As well as Bellaghy, it also has offices in Dublin and Portglenone - where it's also taken extra office space in recent months to enable more social distancing for staff.

It's also expanded exports over the last few years with projects in Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia.

In a strategic report with the accounts, directors Mark Scullion and Tony Shivers said the performance of the company and its position at year end had been good. "Whilst turnover decreased by £5.5m from the prior year, gross profit margin improved from 27% to 29%.

"The group and the company will continue to seek every opportunity to sustain profitable turnover, recognising that the immediate future period and strategic plans will inevitably be impacted in the short-term by the initial and ongoing impact of Covid-19."

Opportunities to seek growth in the future would be affected by the pandemic, which was making the environment "every more challenging". "The directors are however confident the business can navigate through these unprecedented times and still deliver a pleasing and credible set of results for the year ending March 31, 2021."

Premier Electrics said it has a good pipeline of projects across different sectors and geographies.

But its report said it was also facing risks from Brexit uncertainty and exchange rate volatility. "Construction activity, price fluctuation and availability of labour are other sectoral risks faced."

It said it had taken significant extra health and safety measures to protect employees during the pandemic.

And while the present results did not reflect the impact of the pandemic, all its sites had shut around the end of March "with a resultant immediate and direct impact on turnover".

The company said that it "entered the Covid-19 pandemic in a strong liquidity position enabling this temporary reduction in activities to be appropriately managed".

"A proportion of the workforce were placed on furlough during the period of reduced activity.

"However, the vast majority are back to work as activity levels have returned and with a pleasing pipeline of work to be delivered."

It said it was still monitoring the Covid-19 situation and updating and revising contingency plans.

The company has also stress-tested scenarios such as more localised lockdowns, travel restrictions and resulting delays to work programmes and site activity.

It said it had diverse range of work lined-up and was well-placed to continue, "despite the unprecedented nature of the present economic landscape".