Pound's slump after Brexit vote boosts fortunes of leisure home and lodge manufacturer

THE POUND's slump after the referendum vote in favour of Brexit has provided a significant boost to the fortunes of a major leisure home and lodge manufacturer.

Rory Clarke, managing director of JR Rix & Sons Ltd

A strong performance from Victory Leisure Homes helped to drive a “solid” financial performance for the Rix Group of companies in the year to December 2016. Pre-tax profits at the business, which is based in Gilberdyke, East Yorkshire, surged from £256,000 in 2015 to £1.5m last year, helping to drive a 16 per cent rise in group profit, from £5.1m to £5.9m.

Strong performances from the group’s property business and Rix Petroleum – the largest company in the group – also underpinned the result.

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Rory Clarke, the managing director of J.R. Rix & Sons, said Victory Leisure Homes had benefited from increased demand in the domestic holiday market.

He said: “Victory Leisure Homes has had a fantastic year, helped by an increase in the number of holiday makers who decided to stay in the UK. Uncertainty abroad, combined with the fall in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote, have had a significant influence on the holiday market.”

“The Victory brand continues to become established, which in turn has created increased market share.”

Group revenue fell slightly, from £359m to £348m, reflecting a fall in turnover for both the inland and marine fuel businesses.

While Maritime Bunkering’s turnover dropped from £30.5m to £25.5m, profits increased from £718,000 to £1m, largely as a result of cost savings. Rix Petroleum’s turnover fell from £284m in 2015 to £272m last year, with profits reducing from £2.7m to £2.1m.

However, market share remained the same, with the company selling approximately 400m litres of petroleum products in both years.

Mr Clarke said: “Rix Petroleum is the largest company in the J.R. Rix & Sons Group. Whilst oil prices increased during 2016, they remained below the 2015 average. Following the Brexit vote, the value of sterling weakened against the dollar in the second half of the year, and oil is traded in US dollars.

“Despite selling a similar volume of fuel and maintaining market share, company turnover reduced, primarily as a result of selling a greater volume of low-duty product last year and a lower volume of high-duty product.

“As fuel duty makes up a significant proportion of our turnover, this shift of emphasis had a corresponding effect. All parts of the company managed to return a similar or improved profit.”

JR Rix & Sons is one of Yorkshire’s largest family-owned businesses.

The group started out as a shipping company and its operations have grown to cover a wide range of sectors.

Rix dates back to 1873 when a sea captain and merchant adventurer called Robert Rix traded out of the port of Hull. The company was established as ship builders and diversified into fuel distribution, shipping, cars, caravan manufacturing and property. The group includes Rix Petroleum, one of the oldest family owned, independent fuel distributors in the UK.

Rix Petroleum distributes and retails petroleum products from local branches aross Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, the Midlands, and the North West