Polypipe sees trading improve after plunge in first half profits

Polypipe, one of Europe’s biggest manufacturers of plastic pipe systems, said pre-tax profits plunged 93 per cent in the first six months of 2020, although trading has improved since the lockdown was lifted.

Martin Payne, CEO of Polypipe

The Doncaster-based firm warned in July that it could lay off 8 per cent of its workforce. Today it confirmed that 104 people have been made redundant, significantly less than the 250 at risk positions announced in July.

At its lowest point, Polypipe had to furlough 1,771 employees. Apart from the 104 people who were made redundant, all other employees have now returned to work.

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The group's pre-tax profits fell from £31m in the first half of 2019 to just £2m in the six months to June 30, 2020.

Trading since the end of the first half has continued to recover with July revenue down 6 per cent and August sales down 3 per cent.

Martin Payne, Polypipe's chief executive, said: “I want to thank all our colleagues for their dedication, hard work and support through what have been unprecedented times for all of us. I am particularly proud of the way they have rallied to support their local communities despite their own circumstances.

"We manufactured visors and distributed them and other surplus PPE into local NHS and care homes, supported the Nightingale programme and other repurposing of NHS facilities for care and recovery, and contributed to many other local initiatives that have made a difference."

He said the group traded robustly through the crisis with continued improvement in trading in recent months.

"The early actions we took to secure liquidity have positioned the group to be able to capitalise on opportunities as they arise during the recovery, as well as continue investing in new product development in line with our strategy," he added.

"We have a balanced exposure to the different elements of the UK construction market which provides resilience, and strong medium-term growth drivers. Whilst we remain mindful of the various risks to the UK’s economic recovery, I am confident the group is well positioned for the future.”