Brickmaker collapses into the red after ‘unprecedented’ six months

Leicestershire brickmaker Ibstock has slumped into the red for the six months to June 30 after posting an £11m loss.

The firm also saw revenues decline steeply from £203m in 2019, to £131m this year.

The firm says the Covid-19 epidemic brought “significant reductions” in its concrete and clay divisions, which led to the mothballing of three plants and 375 job losses to deliver £20m of savings a year.

Joe Hudson, chief executive, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our industry and the wider UK economy. In response, we have taken swift and wide-ranging action to safeguard the future of the business, including some difficult decisions about the future shape of our manufacturing network. Throughout this period, the health and safety of our colleagues has been our key priority, and I would like to thank them all for their dedication and support over the last few months.

“We entered the crisis with a strong balance sheet. Decisive management action at the outset of the pandemic to control costs and preserve cash ensured the Group was adjusted free cash flow positive during the second quarter and we remain in a solid financial position. With new safe working procedures in place, the majority of our manufacturing plants have now reopened and we are encouraged by recent market trends.

“The fundamentals for our markets remain positive, with a substantial housing deficit in the UK and Government policy which is supportive of the role the construction sector will play in the UK economic recovery. The action we have taken to strengthen the business and improve liquidity, including measures to reduce costs and restructure our operations, provide further flexibility and position us well both to meet current challenges and benefit from recovery in our core markets.”