Engineering firm’s recovery on track

Van Elle, the Nottinghamshire piling firm, which slipped into the red after the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, said this morning that operations have “continued to improve”.

The ground engineering contractor said revenue in August was approximately 80% of normal pre-Covid levels, with further progress in all the group’s end markets except rail, which the company expects to show improvement in the second half of the year.

The group’s cash position stands at around £12m while Van Elle said it is in the advanced stages of finalising an asset-based lending facility, which is expected to provide additional balance sheet strength and flexibility to enable the company to support its growth strategy.

Van Elle said: “The board has a clear focus on the medium term strategy to improve the operational performance of the business, alongside developing positions for differentiation and growth with key customers in the housing, infrastructure and construction sectors, and achieving our financial targets.  The company is progressing well in delivering on this strategy.”

Frank Nelson, non-executive chairman, added: “I am delighted to take over as chairman of Van Elle.  It is encouraging to report further progress in our path to return to pre-Covid operating levels.

“Whilst we don’t underestimate the challenges that our markets continue to face in the short term, the board remains confident about the future prospects for the business.”

Last month, the company reported that for the year to the end of April, it made a pre-tax loss of £2.2m on revenue of down 4.6% to £84.4m.

The previous year it made a profit of £4m before tax on revenue of £88.5m.

Van Elle said the majority of customer sites closed in late March and throughout April, reducing revenues by approximately £10m compared to pre-COVID internal expectations.