How Willerby delivered profit despite covid disruption

UK holiday homes manufacturer Willerby has maintained strong profitability last year despite the disruption caused by covid.

Willerby's latest accounts reveal profitablity despite disruption.
Willerby's latest accounts reveal profitablity despite disruption.

The company’s latest accounts, for the year to October 3, 2020, show how Hull-based Willerby withstood the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic and delivered robust returns despite a three-month manufacturing shutdown.

It recorded turnover of £122.5m, compared to £153.7m in the previous 12 months when there was no interruption to business operations.

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Despite the adverse impact of covid, Willerby maintained strong profitability by recording EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of £9.9m.

Cash balances at year end stood at £18.3m – a modest reduction from £19.8m in the previous period – and no borrowings were required to meet the challenges of the COVID crisis.

The accounts, published at Companies House, show Willerby invested £1.5m to reconfigure the Hull site to allow for social distancing and COVID-secure working practices and enable manufacturing operations to recommence on a phased basis from the beginning of June 2020.

Willerby also continued to forge ahead with multi-million pounds investments in quality control, manufacturing efficiency, IT and sustainability.

Chief executive Peter Munk said: “Our latest year end accounts are a tribute to Willerby’s underlying strength. The pandemic tested the business and our people and, together, we passed that test with flying colours.

“Our order book is now full until late 2022, as the pandemic has resulted in many more people embracing the lifestyle and wellbeing benefits offered by owning a holiday home in the UK.

“As a result, we are launching a new production line next month to meet the increased demand for high-quality holiday homes. Together with other recruitment, including recruitment of our largest ever intake of apprentices, it means we will soon employ over 1,100 people – 200 more than at the end of the last financial year only eight months ago.”

Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, Willerby is the UK’s largest holiday homes manufacturer. The business is majority owned by independent investment house Equistone Partners Europe, with a minority stake held by the management team.

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James Mitchinson