Staycations fuel growth for Hull group

A growing demand for holiday homes and lodges combined with the high oil price saw East Yorkshire family-owned business J.R. Rix & Sons increase turnover by 42% last year.

The company, which is based in Two Humber Quays in Hull city centre, saw group revenue rise by £129m in the 12 months to December 31 2021, compared to the same period the year before, to reach £525.4m.

Group profit, before tax, also rose to £11.8m, up from £6.3m in 2020.

Victory Leisure Homes, the Rix Group’s holiday home and lodge manufacturing business, posted a growth in turnover of 136%, rising from £22.3m in 2020 to £52.7m last year.

The business’s performance was hampered by the COVID pandemic in 2020, which saw holiday parks shut up shop during lockdown, leading to an 11 week factory closure in the summer.

But with UK leisure and tourism now back in full swing, Victory Leisure Homes ramped up production last year with the opening of a second factory on the former Kingstown Furniture site in Hull, leading to the impressive hike in revenue and market share.

Pre-tax profit, which rose 44% from £447,205 to £799,789 last year, also reflected the impact from the significant investment in launching the company’s new manufacturing base, as well as the spiralling cost of materials.

Fuel supplier, Rix Petroleum – the largest business in the group – also reported a significant increase in revenue, up from £304.4m in 2020 to £385.8m last year as oil prices returned to more normal levels from a very low base created by COVID in the previous year.

The revenue growth was driven by a combination of increased volumes and market share (up 11%) and the year on year underlying oil price increase (up 68%).

Elsewhere, the business performed in line with expectations given the financial turbulence of recent years.

Maritime Bunkering, which supplies marine fuels to shipping vessels, saw revenue almost double, up from £32.1m in 2020 to £55.6m last year, but as with Rix Petroleum, this is largely attributable to the higher oil price.

Jordans Cars – an FCA dealership selling new Fiat, Jeep, and Alfa Romeo cars, as well as used cars – saw a slight dip in turnover as supply issues hit the new car market.

However, the used car market experienced unprecedented rising values, resulting in increased unit profitability for the company.

Rix Shipping, which manages the group’s vessels and provides stevedoring services in Hull and Montrose, also saw a slight downturn in sales due to the restrictions placed on the industry by COVID-19.

The Rix Group’s ongoing strategy of diversification is also continuing to pay dividends.

Rix Renewables made significant progress in 2021 growing revenue by more than 80%.

The business supplies skilled technicians, engineers and crew transfer vessels for construction and O&M projects throughout the UK.

Fintech start-up Expensemate, which was launched in January 2020 to streamline expense spending and reporting also made significant progress last year, reporting an operating loss of £426,843 as the Group continues to invest.

Group managing director Rory Clarke said: “Throughout 2021, all our businesses performed well and have contributed to an increase in profitability with a total of £11.9m achieved, which was a good result for the Group,” he said.

“This was achieved despite some operations being affected by the ongoing turbulence of almost unprecedented commodity prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The group’s strategy continues to be one of reinvesting into the opportunities it identifies through new business development, along with targeted acquisitions.”

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