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VictoriaWhitestoneAcquisitive floorcoverings manufacturer and distributor Victoria is preparing to get the chequebook out again, its executive chairman says.


The Kidderminster headquartered group has transformed since a shareholder-inspired boardroom coup in 2012, acquiring three new companies and drastically altering its capital structure.


Its additions of Westex, the Whitestone Weavers group and Abingdon Flooring helped add £57m to its top line in 2014–15, with group revenue reaching £128.3m in the year to end March. Like-for-like sales in the UK were up 1.5 per cent on an annualised basis.


Geoff Wilding, executive chairman, said the firm was planning to acquire more businesses.


“There are good opportunities to continue to grow earnings in the UK and abroad via further carefully scrutinised, high quality acquisitions and organically via a committed sales focus and operational synergies. This is what we intend to deliver for shareholders,” he said.


Underlying pre-tax profits more than trebled to £7m in 2014–15, though its statutory result was impacted by £10m in exceptional costs, much of which was the previously flagged non-cash accounting impact of the Contract for Differences following the payment of the £2.92 per share special dividend in July 2014.


The way Victoria is financed has also changed, with the business agreeing new facilities with existing bankers at HSBC and Barclays as well as unsecured long term capital from the Business Growth Fund, as it funded acquisitions.


Year end net debt climbed to £36.3m (2014: £1.5m).


Mr Wilding added: “In the medium term, we expect Victoria to be capable of paying an attractive dividend. However in the short term, it is the board's view that we will create the most wealth for shareholders by deploying the free cash-flow generated by the existing businesses within the group towards acquiring other high quality flooring manufacturers.”



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