Harrogate-based equipment rental group Vp plc said on Tuesday its revenue fell 15% to £308 million in the year ended 31 March 2021 and it made a statutory loss before taxation of £2.3 million — but said it has made a strong start to the current financial year.
Vp plc chairman Jeremy Pilkington said: “I am pleased to be reporting a set of results that are ahead of our expectations in a year that has seen unprecedented challenges for the business and its customers.
“The past twelve months saw a focus on cash management which delivered a significant reduction in net debt.
“We have exited the year at nearly pre-Covid levels which is a better recovery than we anticipated at the beginning of the pandemic.
“Given that we are reporting results beyond the upper end of original expectations, and reflecting our confidence in the prospects of the group, the board is recommending a final dividend of 25.0 pence per share.
“As we look to the future with renewed optimism, I would like to thank all colleagues at Vp for their hard work and dedication throughout what has been the most challenging of times.”
Vp plc CEO Neil Stothard said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought out the very best in the business against the severest of backdrops and in response to a significant downturn in activity early in the last financial year, we took significant steps to de-risk the business by reducing costs.
“We finished the prior year well and I am pleased to confirm that we have maintained this into April and May of the new financial year, which has started strongly for us.
“Looking ahead, the market backdrop for Vp is positive.
“Our core markets of infrastructure, housebuilding and construction are showing positive signs of sustained growth.
“At the onset of the pandemic I said that we were entering a period of significant economic uncertainty with an excellent and financially robust business and we planned to exit with an equally strong business, which I believe has been achieved.
“Vp has proven over time and throughout other economic downturns that its business model can continue to deliver quality, market leading earnings, for our shareholders.
“We are excited about the prospects for the coming year which we approach with increasing confidence.”