Harrogate-based equipment rental group Vp plc said on Monday its revenues fell 24% to £142.1 million in the six months to September 30, 2020, and it made a statutory loss before tax of £6 million compared to a profit of £23.4 million at the same stage of the previous year.
Profit before tax, amortisation and exceptional items fell to £8.6 million from £25.9 million.
Vp CEO Jeremy Pilkington said: “Vp’s businesses are gradually recovering towards prior year trading levels, buoyed by the positive medium-term outlook for infrastructure investment in the UK.
“The group remains in excellent financial condition and is well positioned to take advantage of the uplift in demand and return the business to its historic levels of profitability.
“The board is optimistic but also realistic about prospects for the second half and beyond.”
On its dividend policy, Vp said: “At the time of our preliminary announcement on 10 June 2020, the board indicated that it would defer the decision on the final dividend until we had a better understanding of how the pandemic would develop.
“Despite the collapse in group revenues in early Q1-2020, we have subsequently experienced a recovery, traded profitably in the first half of the year as a whole and now have better visibility through to the end of the financial year.
“Reflecting our record profits for the year ended 31 March 2020 and a much improved cash position, the board now feels it is appropriate to pay a special dividend in lieu of the final dividend for the year ended 31 March 2020 of 22.0 pence per share to be paid on 17 January 2021 to shareholders registered as at 18 December 2020.
“There is no interim dividend for the current financial year but the board will take a view for the year as a whole at the time of our preliminary announcement in June 2021.
“The board appreciates the importance of income to our shareholders and intends to maintain its longstanding progressive dividend policy.”