Polypipe says trading almost back to normal but not ready to pay dividend yet

The maker of recyclable plastic piping had almost 1,800 employees furloughed at one point

Polypipe -

Polypipe Group PLC (LON:PLP) said it was not ready to return to paying a dividend after profits fell 93% in the first half of the year because of the coronavirus lockdown. 

The maker of recyclable plastic piping, which had almost 1,800 employees furloughed at one point, said it has decided to make 104 out of 250 planned job cuts as part of a restructuring “to position the business for expected future demand”.

With all other employees now returned to work, the FTSE 250 group said trading since the end of the first half has continued to recover, with July’s revenues down 6% on last year and August down 3%.

Revenues fell 22% to £173.6mln in the first six months of the year and profit before tax plummeted to £2.3mln from £31.4mln a year ago.

The Residential Systems division saw revenues fall 28%, while Commercial and Infrastructure sales fell 14%, with the difference primarily being due to the work on essential government infrastructure programmes.

There was a £15.7mln cash outflow in the half, with net debt at £71.2mln compared to £178.5mln a year earlier, thanks to a £120mln equity raise in May.

Chief executive Martin Payne said: “The early actions we took to secure liquidity have positioned the group to be able to capitalise on opportunities as they arise during the recovery, as well as continue investing in new product development in line with our strategy.  

“We have a balanced exposure to the different elements of the UK construction market which provides resilience, and strong medium-term growth drivers.”

The shares were up 8% to 440.5p in early trade on Tuesday.

Quick facts: Polypipe

Price: 491 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £1.12 billion

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