City round-up: Coral Products open to acquisitions; savings made at GB Group; OTAQ Irish deal

Coral Products, Wythenshawe

Listed plastics manufacturer Coral Products expects revenue for the year to 30 April 2024 to be down on last year over £31m (2023: £35.2m), with underlying EBITDA for the Group also expected to at around £3.2m, a drop from £3.9m in 2023, which the new chief executive Lance Burn insists is “in line with recent market expectations”.

The Wythenshawe, Manchester, based group of businesses intends to reinstate an interim FY24 dividend of 0.25 pence to shareholders in July.

Lance Burn, chief executive, also said the company may be open to acquiring companies in the plastics sector and said growth may come from “accessing commercial opportunity, scale and synergy through M&A.”

On the performance, Burn commented: “We quickly recognised and communicated the adverse commercial impact experienced in our industry towards the end of 2023 and as a result, have been able to implement corrective commercial measures and organisational reform. We are pleased to say that we are beginning to see improvements in most of our markets, whilst being mindful of the continuing economic and geopolitical uncertainty.

“We have created a focused and accountable new two-Division structure which is delivering performance and margin improvement through innovation, simplification and efficiency. We have exited low margin revenue streams in order to focus on profitability. Our recent investment of over £3m in new manufacturing capabilities is now fully commissioned serving new commercial channels and customers. This capital expenditure is expected to benefit the current financial year.

“I am pleased to see so much progress in such a brief time since I became CEO and I would like to thank my new colleagues for their support and effort as we accelerate a positive transformation of our business in pursuit of growth.”


Dev Dhiman

Chester-based experts in global identity and location software GB Group has told the markets this morning that it made substantial cost savings in the business and new CEO Dev Dhiman has cut pre-tax losses in his first set of financial results released to the market this morning.

Group revenue of £277.3 million grew by 2.7%, while there was an operating loss of £41.4 million (FY23: loss of £112.4 million), principally due to the goodwill impairment charge of £54.7 million recognised at the half year (FY23: £122.2 million).

Adjusted operating profit was £61.2 million (FY23: £59.8 million), which represents a margin of 22.1% (FY23: 21.5%) and an 8% increase over FY23, excluding the £3 million foreign exchange gain in the prior year.

Pre tax losses of £50.8m were a reduction from £118.8m loss in 2023.

Dhiman said: “This is my first set of results since taking the role of Chief Executive and I am pleased to report a more positive trading momentum. My first few months have focused on our teams, customers and business partners across GBG. This has reinforced my confidence in our competitive differentiation and our market opportunity. I believe we have opportunities to build on our momentum and capitalise on the strong and attractive structural growth drivers in the market. 

“The time I have spent with our key stakeholders has informed our focus areas around simplicity; being globally aligned; driving a performance culture and differentiation through innovation. I am looking forward to working with everyone across GBG to deliver on these priorities. In doing so, we will ensure that GBG continues to help our 20,000+ customers grow, by giving them the intelligence to make the best decisions, when it matters most.

“GBG plays an important role in protecting consumers and businesses from fraud while enabling our customers to reach and build trust with their customers. And we will continue to play this critical and increasingly relevant role over the long term for the benefit of all of our stakeholders.”


Lancaster-based marine technology group, OTAQ, has won a contract to install two of its Live Plankton Analysis System (LPAS) units for Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency.

The units will be installed for Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) on an initial rental through until the end of 2024.

One of these units will be deployed with a global seafood producer which has encountered Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) events at its Irish sites in recent years resulting in significant stock losses.

Recently launched by OTAQ, LPAS is a powerful tool for farmers to help combat the rising threat of HAB. By integrating specialised AI technology to automate the identification and quantification of harmful algae and streamline monitoring processes, LPAS saves time, enhances accuracy and frequency, and will assist in standardising practices across the industry. LPAS marks a significant advancement in safeguarding aquaculture against devastating HAB events.

Damien Toner, Aquatech Business Manager at BIM, said: “A key part of BIM’s role in supporting the growth and sustainability of Ireland’s seafood industry is to assess and promote new technologies that will assist farmers manage their operational risks and efficiencies. Following trials of LPAS Beta units during 2023, we see the vital benefits LPAS brings in streamlining and enhancing algae monitoring in production areas and, therefore, we are pleased to be progressing our relationship with OTAQ to the benefit of Irish farms.”

Richard Beesley, Chief Commercial Officer at OTAQ, said: “The Aquaculture industry is increasingly challenged by the threat of Harmful Algal Blooms, which can devastate fish populations and lead to significant financial losses for farms worldwide.

“While daily monitoring has been the traditional response, it presents notable challenges. Since 2021, we have worked closely with farmers, industry bodies and academia to identify and develop a viable solution to address these challenges.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...