The financial year for Centura Group runs from July to June annually. I would like to update you all as to our current position at the end of what must be the most challenging year in our long history.
After 6 months of normal trading in 2019, January 2020 started cautiously. This was expected as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the General Election and of course the 12 month deadline agreed to complete Brexit. Orders and opportunities were slow, especially from the private sector.
When Coronavirus first struck the UK in mid-March I doubt if anyone could have foreseen the additional changes that would affect all of us both in business and of course personally. By early April nearly all projects in CRL had been postponed or cancelled because of the virus. Other Group businesses were less affected by Covid but the ability to work efficiently on our projects was greatly reduced. As we continued to trade through May and June we were gradually allowed back to work albeit under new safety rules to minimise the risk of the virus. As you read this I am pleased to say that that we are getting back to a “New Normal”, but the effects of the past six months are still very much with us and may well be around for the foreseeable future.
During these past months the future of this long-established business was very uncertain. All businesses rely on cash and cash flow. Our monthly outgoings for wages and salaries are high and must be helped by our sales income, which of course had all but dried up. The furlough scheme introduced by the Government was a huge help to the business. The management of cash by our finance and contracts teams has been second to none. But above all else I must offer my heartfelt thanks to every employee of this Group. Every person in this Group has made a huge personal sacrifice by accepting reduced earnings, by following the furlough rules or indeed by working exceptional hours to help keep the Group on its feet. Everyone has been affected but all of you have accepted these changes with good grace and loyalty. The result is that we will get through this crisis.
The year ahead will remain challenging. Our expectations are of reduced sales in the 20/21 year and an improvement in 21/22. Our overheads have been reduced accordingly. These past six months have seen some changes to our working practices. On site social distancing, hand washing, and other measures have been introduced. In our offices similar precautions have been made so that we can continue to offer a safe place of work to all. Many of our recent meetings have been on-line thus reducing travel costs, environmental impact and time taken. We have new software packages being implemented which will offer similar benefits and efficiencies. We have taken this opportunity to examine many parts of the business and have made improvements so that we may be more productive and more efficient.
CRL is of course our largest business. I would like to announce some changes in CRL and especially at Board level. These changes are with effect from 1st September 2020.
From that date the CRL Board members are;
Tony Rimoldi - Chairman
Sanjay Patel - Managing Director
Steve Jones - Southern Regional Director
Daren King - Northern Regional Director
Murray Soutar - Regional Director (Scotland and Ireland)
Dave Burgess - Highways Director
Chris Martin (Commercial Director) and Andy Came (Operations Director) will remain on the CRL Board during a transition period to be announced. These changes will bring new ideas, new strategy and improved skills to the CRL Board. Each Board member will also have specific responsibilities reflecting the needs of the business and their personal talents. I hope that you will join me in wishing this new Board every success for the future.
The Boards of Centura Group and our other subsidiary companies will remain unchanged.
We will all work forward now in a very different world. We will need to understand the economic and social impact of the past 6 months and drive the business forward accordingly. Throughout 65 years of trading within Centura and its companies we have been confronted with many significant challenges. We have adapted to all of them. We will continue to move forward, to grow and be successful. We will continue to provide a safe and vibrant workplace. We will continue to support our staff and help with their careers and their futures. Because of your loyalty, your commitment and your resilience we will always be the best team in the business.
Group Chief Executive