City briefs: Synectics, Hunters, Animalcare

Advanced security and surveillance business, Synectics has provided a trading update in light of the continued challenges caused by Covid-19.

The Sheffield-based business stated that its largest market sector, global casinos and gaming, is unlikely to recover during the second half of the firm’s financial year as had been previously expected.

It had originally expected that the easing of travel restrictions and the re-opening in early summer of casinos in the US and Asia would leads to some recovery, however the firm now understands that most planned surveillance system projects and upgrades will be delayed beyond this year.

As a result of this the revenues and results in the second half of the year to 30 November are likely to be lower than in the first half.

Paul Webb, chief executive of Synectics, commented: “With our ongoing investment in advanced product development and deep customer relationships, Synectics is well positioned across our global markets for long-term success. Given the impact of Covid-19 across many of the sectors we work in, our focus has been to support our customers and people, while acknowledging the inevitable impact this has had on our short-term trading and financial performance.

“We remain confident in our long-term growth prospects as our software and technology capabilities continue to open up new opportunities in evolving markets for our security and surveillance technology.”

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Hunters property group, the largest estate agent franchise has revealed its results for the period ending 30 June, reporting an increase in profit against the same period last year.

Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19 which resulted in a reduced turnover, down 18%, the York headquartered business recorded an EBITDA of £1.44m, an increase of 30% on 2019. It saw record sales activity in June, July and August, which could be attributed to the pent up demand in the housing market and the current stamp duty holiday, which is running until March 2021.

Kevin Hollinrake, chairman of Hunters and MP for Thirsk and Malton said: “The year started very well with valuations +17% to February versus the previous year, before the Covid-19 related lockdown reduced sales activity in April alone by 93%.

He added that due to the strong levels of activity since lockdown eased, the business is in a “strong position to weather the uncertainty ahead” and that based on the current outlook, it intends “with the announcement of the full year results to look to repay the CBILS reserve”.

The firm highlighted it has continued its growth plans over the first half of the year, opening five new branches and has started the second half of the year “very positively”.

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Listed animal health business, Animalcare Group, has announced its interim results for the six months to 30 June, recording a 4.4% drop in revenue to £34.5m compared to the same period in 2019 as a result of Covid-19.

Despite this the York-based business entered 2020 in a strong financial position which it states has been maintained and the business continues to invest in opportunities for growth. Since the end of this reporting period the business has agreed a $5m deal with Canadian biotech business Kane Biotech.

Animalcare’s chief executive officer, Jenny Winter, said the business “has shown exceptional resilience in the face of unprecedented conditions caused by the pandemic.”

Adding: “While trading to the end of August was broadly in line with the same period last year, uncertainty about the economic and market impact of the pandemic prevails. However, the attractive fundamentals of the animal health sector, the steady recovery in our markets as veterinary practices adapt to life with Covid-19, combined with the impressive response of the group to these difficult conditions and our maturing pipeline underpin our confidence in the future and further strengthen our long-term focus on growth.

“Notably, our continuing pursuit of value-creating growth opportunities resulted in the recently announced agreement with Kane Biotech centred on the treatment of biofilm-related ailments in companion animals. This is a significant deal that complements our existing portfolio and is an example of our focus on developing long-term sustainable commercial relationships.”

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