Hull manufacturing giant Ideal Heating saw sales dip slightly as the outbreak of the coronavirus saw the market pause.
A five per cent hit was taken in the latest accounts, filed as a huge expansion gets underway at the sprawling National Avenue base.
The boiler specialist is building room for an acceleration in heat pumps and other low and zero carbon solutions for UK homes.
Read more:£16m expansion at Hull’s Ideal Heating
The financial year of 2020, aligned to the calendar, saw turnover drop from £322.4 million to £306.1 million.
Profits slipped 6.8 per cent from £58.6 million to £54.6 million for the Groupe Atlantic entity.
Steve Hairsine, chief financial officer for the French multi-national’s UK division, and Ideal Heating director, said: “The decrease [in turnover] was due to the pause in the market at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Strong sales towards the end of the year offset some of this impact.
“Operating margin and profit for the year were maintained in line with turnover due to careful management of the business throughout the year.”
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Staff numbers dropped from 886 to 844 through “natural attrition,” though fewer sales left it able to run with a lower headcount. Since the year-end, however, more than 150 new staff have been taken on, as the sales seen in the closing quarters continued into 2021.
Mr Hairsine said Ideal was maintaining additional stock holding as part of a continued Brexit strategy.
As reported, the £16 million investment will see a further 13,000 sq m of manufacturing and warehousing space created, with the proactive step to meeting new demands on the housebuilding market welcomed by the government.
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