Belfast Telegraph

Recycling giant's profits rise to £9m despite fall in turnover

By Margaret Canning

Pre-tax profits have increased more than four-fold to reach almost £9m at a metal scrappage business based in Portadown.

But Clearway Holdings, which was founded by John Murphy, also reported a fall in turnover of 2.3% to £81.2m for 2016 compared to £83.2m for 2015.

However, despite the fall in sales a strategic report filed with the accounts expressed optimism for the future.

The company started out as a waste management and scrappage business.

It now has four processing and export facilities in Portadown, Belfast, Londonderry and Sligo in the Republic.

Clearway Holdings is the parent company of seven subsidiaries including Clearway Disposals, Aughrim Landfill outside Lisburn, Hammond Metal Recyling in the Republic, and Clearway Metal Recyclers.

Clearway Holdings said its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), as well as net assets, were key indicators.

EBITDA during 2016 was £14.5m, up nearly 65% from £8.8m a year before.

And subsidiary Clearway Disposals reported a fall in turnover to £80.8m for 2016 compared to £82.8m for 2015, though pre-tax profits had more than doubled to reach £10m.

Clearway Disposals said the fall in its turnover had been due to a fall in tonnage sold.

The strategic report for Clearway Holdings added: "The group continues to have a strong asset base, with net assets at December 31, 2016 of £95m."

Employee numbers were down from 185 to 165.

The report added: "The directors are pleased that the group continues to have positive EBITDA and a strong net asset base.

"However, they are acutely aware of the present instability due to issues in world markets and would be cautiously optimistic for the trading year ahead."

However, it added that the market for scrap and recycling services "remains highly competitive".

"The group seeks to manage the risk of losing customers... by the provision of added value services and continued capital investment," it said.

It also had a risk management programme in place to guard against risks including foreign currency risk, interest rate risk and credit risk.

And it said it would remain focused on growing turnover and EBITDA by continuing its capital investment.

While it did monitor interest rate risk, it added that it was in a strong liquid position and did not foresee any interest rate or liquidity risk in the near future.

It also used financial instruments to manage foreign exhange exposure, which mainly arose from purchases in euros.

As well as scrap metal collection, the company also carries out demolition and site clearing work.

Founder Mr Murphy died suddenly in Mexico in 2008 during a charity fundraising trip.

His children are among the directors of the firm.

Belfast Telegraph