Fulcrum Utility Services - AGM Trading Update
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FULCRUM UTILITY SERVICES LIMITED
("Fulcrum" or "the Group")
AGM Trading Update
Fulcrum Utility Services Limited, the UK's market leading independent multi-utility infrastructure and services provider, provides a trading update in advance of its AGM to be held later today.
During the first quarter of FY 2021, the Group saw an increase in activity month on month as lockdown restrictions eased. That momentum has continued in the second quarter with activity levels having now returned to pre-COVID levels. As at 31 August 2020, the Company's order book had also increased by 5% to £69.4 million, from £66.2 million at 31 March 2020. Overall, and despite the impact of COVID-19, the Board are pleased with the Company's resilient performance during the period.
The Company continues to position itself to capitalise on the UK's net-zero and smart energy revolution and has invested in its sales force and back office functions. However, the Company is mindful of the short-term COVID-19 uncertainty that remains and has therefore ensured that it has cost flexibility within its operations.
In the first half of the year, the Group has continued to secure a variety of new and significant contracts across its market sectors, including:
Enquiry levels in this sector are particularly strong as homebuilders seek to meet demand stimulated by the change to stamp duty. Project wins included a £1.1 million contract to deliver a full multi-utility solution to a major development of 500 new homes.
Industrial and Commercial:
The Company has seen strong levels of customer enquiries during the period and project wins included:
- A £0.7 million project to design and install electricity infrastructure as part of a substantial extension to a well-known UK shopping centre
- A £0.7 million contract to deliver a full multi-utility solution to a large new commercial development
- A £0.6 million contract to deliver over two kilometres of gas infrastructure at major new renewable energy project for a food waste recycling specialist
- A significant project with a major Charge Point Operator to design and install electric vehicle charging infrastructure for a national UK retailer
Whilst there is a notable lengthening in the sales cycle as a result of COVID-19, this remains a robust part of the business and the Company expects to continue to win a number of significant new industrial and commercial projects.
We continue to see significant interest from gas and electricity suppliers looking to ensure they will be able to fulfil their part in the regulatory obligation to exchange 30 million domestic meters in the UK to smart meters by mid-2025. In the period, the Group secured new agreements with energy suppliers including Square 1 Energy, Colorado Energy, Goto Energy, Whoop Energy and Bryt Energy. These additional agreements demonstrate the success of the Group's strategy to provide a customer-focused, flexible and bespoke service that supports suppliers of all sizes.
The Group also today announces the appointment of Jennifer (Jenny) Cutler, who will join the Group as its new Chief Financial Officer on 19 October 2020. Jenny joins Fulcrum from Harworth Group plc, a Main Market listed business and a leading regenerator of land and property for development and investment, where she was Director of Finance.
Despite the short-term market uncertainties created by COVID-19, the Board is confident in the ability of the Group to prosper in the longer term. We have a fundamentally robust business, proven to operate effectively in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19, with a strong orderbook and a clear strategy to capitalise on the structural tailwinds provided by the UK's transition to net zero.
Daren Harris, CEO, said:
"Although 2020 continues to present short-term market challenges, our ability to operate effectively through the COVID-19 pandemic is proven. There also remains a substantial, long-term, opportunity for the Group to significantly grow its revenues across the attractive markets it serves given the UK's net-zero and a smart energy revolution.
We are also very encouraged by the Group's ability to bounce back from the initial impact of COVID-19 in the first quarter of the financial year, and we are pleased to confirm that activity levels returned to pre-COVID-19 levels in the second quarter. However, we are not complacent and remain mindful of the current market challenges. We continue to carefully manage our costs, considering the short-term uncertainty created by COVID-19, but also recognise the need to ensure we are best positioned to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the need to decarbonise the UK's economy."