RECYCLING products group Straight yesterday reported a significant improvement in its trading performance during a “transformational” year.
Over the last two months, Leeds-based Straight has been involved in talks with an Irish company over a potential sale of the business.
In a statement to accompany its full year results, Straight also confirmed that 2014 had started well. In the year ending December 31 2013, the company made an underlying operating profit of £0.82m, compared with a loss of £0.24m the year before.
Last year, the group revenue was £26.10m, which was less than the £27.82m recorded in 2012. Over the year, Straight secured “significant” contract wins with Serco in Canterbury, Dumfries and Galloway Council and the City of Salford.
Commenting on the results, James Newman, Straight’s chairman, said: “2013 has seen a significant improvement in the trading performance of the group, which has maintained its market leading position. 2014 has started well with a strong order book already in place. The board is confident that it will be able to deliver further profitable growth over the coming year.”
Chief executive, Jonathan Straight added: “At the end of 2012 I said that the foundations of recovery had been laid. At the end of 2013 it was apparent that this statement has proved to be correct as a significant improvement has been delivered. The considerable momentum created through two years of restructuring is carrying us forward with confidence.”
Straight provides environmental products and services to the UK market and overseas. The group is one of the UK’s biggest manufacturers and suppliers of specialist kerbside recycling containers. It also supplies a broad range of waste and recycling containers. Since it was founded in 1993 by Mr Straight, the business has supplied more than 25 million kerbside boxes, baskets and caddies to local authorities across the UK.
On February 14, the company announced that it had received an approach from One51, an Irish trading company with interests in plastic moulded products and waste containers, to acquire the business.
In a statement, Straight said yesterday: “The board agreed to enter negotiations and due diligence is ongoing. The company expects to make a further announcement on the progress of this transaction in the near future.”
In his review of the year, Mr Straight said: “2013 has been a transformational year with the groundwork established in the previous year finally bearing fruit. Our turnover was slightly down, primarily due to the disposal of the DIY business. The loss making position in 2012 has been reversed with excellent factory productivity boosting margins and substantially increasing profits. The work to eradicate legacy issues and refinance the business, which commenced in 2012, has been seen through in 2013.
“I would like to thank my entire team for their continued hard work,’’ Mr Straight added.
“They have been instrumental in the turnaround of the business and share my optimism for the future now that our vertical integration is complete.”
Straight is a founding member of the Social Stock Exchange, an online portal which promotes investment in businesses with social or environmental impacts.