old

The executive chairman of acquisitive floorcoverings group Victoria says the business’ turnaround could not have happened without the support of its bankers.


Geoff Wilding paid tribute to Barclays and HSBC for backing the group’s business plan and saying they “have made a genuine effort to understand the business and its strategy, and have always been ready to provide us with capital to execute our plans.”


“Banks have had a hard time from politicians and the media over the last few years and, possibly, some of the opprobrium has been deserved,” he said.


“However I feel I need to balance this view with the observation that the turnaround in Victoria's fortunes could not have happened without the support of the company's bankers: Barclays and, more recently, HSBC.”


His comments came as Victoria released its half year results to 3rd October, which are heavily impacted by the acquisitions the group has made over the past two years.


Net debt at 3rd October stood at £81.1m, up from £36.3m at the same dateline a year ago. “It is important shareholders appreciate that while net debt has increased, so have the group's earnings, said Mr Wilding.


“Furthermore, since the half year, £8.5m was received following shareholder approval of the second part of the equity fund raising undertaken at the time of the Interfloor acquisition and these monies have been applied to reduce debt.”


Mr Wilding added that — together with the strong cash generative nature of the group's businesses — its debt to EBITDA ratio for bank covenant purposes is now less than 2.25x, well within agreed bank covenants, and expected to continue falling.


Revenue was up 165 per cent to £105.6m; EBITDA before exceptionals up 136 per cent to £7.2m, and underlying pre-tax profit before by 129 per cent to £5.9m.


Most of the one-off costs were associated with its acquisitions, with the group making a statutory pre-tax profit of £3.3m, compared to a £5.6m loss in the first half of 2014.


Its half year numbers reflect the inaugural full first half contribution from both Abingdon Flooring and Whitestone, two months' contribution from Quest Carpets, acquired on 7 August 2015, and just three weeks of Interfloor, acquired on 11 September 2015.



Stay informed. Subscriptions start from less than £2 per week:



Already a subscriber?    Sign In