Filta seeing gradual recovery in both US and UK markets
Fryer management and commercial kitchen service company Filta Group said on Tuesday that, since its preliminary results on 28 May, its focus had been on preserving cash and preparing for the easing of social distancing restrictions.
The AIM-traded firm, which was holding its annual general meeting, said its core services operated at “well below full capacity” through May and June in the UK and, while there had been a considerable variation in activity levels among its US franchisees, the overall activity level there was similarly reduced until restrictions were eased in mid-June.
Still, Filta said it had seen gradual monthly improvements, with May turnover about 14% up on April, and June a further 38% up on May.
“In our previous announcement, we referred to the launch in May of our sanitisation and protection service, FiltaShield,” the board said in its statement.
“Whilst it is early in its lifecycle, and with demand strongly influenced by the timing of reopenings, we have been pleased with the interest we have received from both businesses in the food and beverage sector and from others unconnected with that sector but where the welfare of people, in large or close gatherings, is of paramount importance.”
Filta said that in the week starting 6 July, FiltaShield generated around £50,000 in revenue and, with the number and value of customer quotes continuing to increase, the board was optimistic that, as markets in the US and UK continued to reopen, it would see an increasing contribution from that service.
“We are pleased to report that the group continues to maintain a strong cash position,” the board added, reporting that since the beginning of the year, it had been cash generative and held gross cash at the end of May of £3.6m, up from £2.9m on 31 December.
Net debt, meanwhile, stood at £1.4m, narrowing from £2.1m at the end of 2019.
“This has been achieved through diligent cash flow management and the utilisation of available government support schemes.
“Additionally, the group received proceeds of £1.2m from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) on 10 July, further strengthening our cash position.
“We continue to work proactively on protecting profit and conserving cash and are actively managing costs as we ramp up the business to meet increasing demand.”
Filta said it was mindful that the pandemic remained “highly unpredictable”, and would lead to some level of continued disruption to trading in the coming months.
“However, the mitigating steps that we have taken leave us well placed to weather these unprecedented trading conditions.
“Whilst It still remains too early to provide full year guidance, the trend remains positive with progress being achieved in all of our operating regions and, barring a major second wave of the pandemic, we anticipate the revenue trend seen late in the second quarter to continue into the third quarter.”
At 1110 BST, shares in Filta Group Holdings were down 8.77% at 93.05p.