Marshalls sinks to loss after tough year

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HEAVY cost-cutting, the weak economy and poor weather pushed paving specialist Marshalls into the red in 2012.

The Huddersfield-based landscape products group said a £21.5m restructuring charge forced it to an £11.2m pre-tax loss, versus £13.7m profits a year earlier.

Revenues fell 7.3 per cent to £309.7m from £334.1m a year earlier. The second-wettest year on record wiped £13m from its sales, Marshalls added.

An “increasingly uncertain” economy forced Marshalls to cut its workforce by 15 per cent during 2012. Its cost base dropped by £7m as it shut its Maltby paving plant and a stone walling plant in Derbyshire.

Chief executive Graham Holden said: “The general economic background remains unpredictable and economic forecasts for 2013 are flat.

“Commercial demand, particularly from rail infrastructure and home development, is improving, the installer market is showing good order books and the group’s international business is delivering strong year on year sales growth.”

Net debt fell 18 per cent to £63.5m and Marshalls maintained its dividend at 3.5p per share, “reflecting confidence in the future”.

“There is no change in our expectations for the current year and the group continues to remain well placed to achieve growth when market conditions improve,” said the company.