Print group targeting improvement ‘when better days emerge’

Grafenia store

Grafenia, the Manchester-based printing business, saw half year sales decline and a pre-tax loss increase.

Reporting its accounts for the six months to September 30, 2020, the business revealed turnover of £5.25m, compared with £8.41m the previous year.

A pre-tax loss of £1.20m increased to a loss of £1.29m this year.

Bank cash of £3.68m was an improvement on the previous year’s level of £2.54m, although net debt increased from £250,000 to £1.95m.

During the reporting period the group completed the acquisition of Sign Right, Dublin, and Eggshell Solutions, Birmingham, England, and merged Clear Designs with Nettl of Dublin.

In a joint statement, chief executive Peter Gunning and chairman Jan Mohr said the initial lockdown severely impacted sales.

They said: “The pandemic has given us plenty of time for soul-searching.

“To consider what things will look like on the other side.

“Nothing will be exactly the same again. Habits formed during the lockdown are likely to linger. Things that were always going to happen, are happening now. At a faster rate of change than expected.

“To return to growth, our focus must remain on three things. Sell more products and services. Add more partners. Win more clients.

“The secret sauce is our platform. We’ve been quietly working on some major developments.

“We’ve rebooted, repackaged and relaunched some core parts of our platform.

“We’ve changed onboarding and sign-up processes to be self-service. And refreshed our marketing approach, to test different messaging and acquisition methods.”

They added: “After the interim period ended, the UK entered further significant coronavirus restrictions.

“We’re currently in the middle of a second lockdown and just a few weeks away from the end of the Brexit transition period. It’s impossible to forecast the near term with any certainty.

“However, on an annualised basis, our overhead base is c. £1.4m lower than the same period last year.

“We have invested in automation to scale our platform, without a significant increase in overhead.

“We’ve strengthened our cash position with additional long-term bond and CBILS facilities.

“We believe the steps we’re taking to change our business will put us in a position to capitalise when better days emerge. We reiterate our mid-term goal of an EBITDA margin of 10-15%.”