Goodwin Plc - COVID-19 and Liquidity Update
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(the "Company" or the "Group")
Whilst there has been global disruption gripping the world with the onset of COVID-19 since January, the Company is pleased to confirm that its UK companies have remained open for business since the start of the pandemic, taking appropriate measures in accordance with government guidance.
The overseas operations have been working in accordance with their local legislation, and wherever legally allowable, remaining operational. There are currently no Goodwin Group companies closed for business.
With the disruption in the last quarter of the financial year ended 30th April 2020, there have been delays in executing certain capital goods contracts due to the Company's customers' inability to travel. However, with limited international travel and social distancing becoming the new 'norm', working practices have been adapted for business to continue in a routine manner.
The medium-term impact of COVID-19 is becoming clearer, and the Company is pleased to confirm that the manufacturing of its engineering capital goods should continue positively as expected, with the Group's current record forward order book of £177 million (some 94% higher than the average for the past 6 years) being predominantly for projects and applications that are not consumer orientated. So, with newly adapted working practices that we along with our customers could not have envisaged doing only six months ago, the business continues to progress.
The Group's UK and overseas refractory companies, whilst all operational, primarily manufacture products utilised in the manufacture of luxury consumer goods and in construction industries. Whilst in May they have been fulfilling existing orders, they are now predicting a 20%-25% reduction in consumer business activity for the next few months. However, the elements of the business making refractories used for the manufacture of industrial goods are expected to fare much better.
The Group remains in a financially resilient position. Cash flow and net debt are in line with the Board's expectations, with the Company only utilising approximately 50% of its £50million traditional debt facilities.
Due to initial uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the Board has secured an additional credit line through the Bank of England Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) as an insurance policy. So if faced with the unexpected, such as payment delays by customers and /or temporarily increased work in progress should projects be delayed and /or a major second pandemic peak, we would have sufficient financial resources to weather the storm, enabling the Board to continue to focus on doing what is right for the business. The committed, 100% UK Government backed commercial paper facility option would bolster our liquidity headroom by up to £30million if the Board deems it prudent and appropriate to utilise.
We are not aware of any adversity looming and in line with custom and practice, approximately 80% of the Group's debtor book remains covered by credit insurance and / or cash positive stage payments. Furthermore, the Group's reported gearing ratio as at the 31st October 2019 of 27% has improved and as things stand, we do not envisage a deterioration.
The Board continues to be focused on resilience through cash conservation, close control on expenditure and matching the overheads of individual Group companies to their current or expected level of activity, thus limiting as far as possible any impact on the Group's revenue and profitability.