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Pittards sees more opportunity than risk after H1 disruption

Tanning and leather products group Pittards has announced interim results for the first half of 2020. Its revenues in the six months to June 30 were £6.6 million, a decline of 45% compared to the same period in 2019.

Pre-tax earnings on these revenues amounted to a loss of £2.3 million in the first half of 2020, compared to a profit of £200,000 in the same period the year before.

Pittards chairman, Stephen Yapp, said on announcing the interim results that, despite disruptions in the first half of the year, the group had entered the second half of 2020 “with renewed confidence and stability”. He added that cashflows were “positive and improving”.
Mr Yapp said that a strategy of expanding the markets in which Pittards operates, improving its margins and lowering its costs was now “showing clear signs of delivering benefits to the business”.

He pointed out that 14% of sales in the first half were from “new markets”, compared to 1.5% of total sales in the first half of 2019, and added that sales rose consistently from May through to August.

For his part, chief executive, Reg Hankey, said covid-19 had caused “severe disruption” to the business, leading to production volumes “falling far below normal levels”.

Mr Hankey said the aviation market had been hardest hit, with sales yet to recover, but that there was progress in the automotive market with sales growing in the second half. He said that, between June and August, sales into new target markets accounted for 26% of the total, compared to 14% in the first half.

“We have also seen some positive order trends in golf, defence, cycling and speciality endurance gloves and indeed sports in general, as our core existing customers show signs of recovery, with sales orders up since the half year,” Mr Hankey added. “We have continued to work on developing our product portfolio, including our new Tri Protex antimicrobial leather, and a further product line for fire-retardant leather for rail applications, for which trials are ongoing.”

He said there were clear signs of a modest recovery in sales revenues and an improving order book. “We currently see more opportunity than risk in the new normal that is emerging,” Mr Hankey concluded.

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