Greater stability and a return to profitability in 2019
17 July 2019
When times are tough, you are faced with two options. You can dig in, do nothing and blame everyone else, or you can actively set about improving the situation. UnitBirwelco’s new management team chose the latter.
In just a few short months, the group’s financial situation has been stabilised, the cost base reduced and, most important of all, the company has been returned to profitability. Throughout a period of radical transformation and change, our workforce have been amazing and, crucially, our clients in the oil and gas, energy and power generation industries have remained both loyal and fully supportive. The transformation in the group’s fortunes has been truly remarkable.
The financial building blocks have included restructuring the balance sheet by replacing approximately £1m of debt with permanent equity capital, and replacing over £400k of short-term debt with long term debt to the same value. All creditor commitments are up to date, which means the Group is well placed to take advantage of normal trade credit terms and better prices, leading to more reliability and improved margins.
At the same time, overheads have been reduced by close to £200k a month – a process that is continuing and will bear even more fruit in the future.
The restructured Management team has been bolstered with myself, Group FD Andrew Williams, a Group Quality and Integrated Systems Manager, Steve Foligno promoted to General Manager at Unit Superheater Engineering, alongside our teams at Birwelco and Unit Engineers and Construction led by Carl Blewer and Dave McIntyre, all who are fully committed to implementing our plan to consolidate UnitBirwelco’s position as a £25m+ turnover business, whilst keeping tight control of the overhead structure.
But that’s just one side of the equation: the other side is growing the business by looking after our existing customers and winning new ones. Repeat and new customer enquiries are running at vastly improved levels over the previous year and we are recruiting additional technical resources to cope with demand.
Enquiries received to H1 ’19 are 20% up on the same period in 2018 and at only half way through the year, our order intake is more than 80% of that achieved during the whole of 2018. The growth is spread across all group activities, including contracts for Design, manufacturing, fabrication, installation and ongoing maintenance activities.
The transformation is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication – for everyone at UnitBirwelco this is just the beginning as we continue to drive performance improvement and growth with a dedicated team and a loyal customer base.
By Cy Wilkinson