Blue Diamond have reported profits before tax of £6.3m for the six months to June 2020. That covers the period when all but one of their centres were closed for seven weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic and all restaurant closed for half of the time.
Total sales declined by 5% and the profit before tax was 12% down year on year excluding the profit made on the sale of freehold properties in 2019.
Chairman Simon Burke explained in his statement that additional bank facilities have not needed to be used: “ Cash has been conserved to the point where net cash flow was actually strongly positive in the period, and debt at 30 June represented just 0.8 times EBITDA, a gearing of 16.5%. These figures need to be seen in the context of a significant increase in creditors as many cash payments were delayed, a VAT deferral of £3m and the postponement of other liabilities including bonuses. Some of this cash will therefore have flowed back out since the period end, or will do so later, but it is good news that we have not needed to use the additional bank facilities we negotiated back in March.”
The board are recommending an interim dividend payment of 2p per share in line with 2019.
Simon Burke concludes his report by looking ahead: “I believe that garden centres will be one of the winners from this crisis, benefiting from a further decline in the attractiveness of high streets and large shopping centres, and people’s reinvigorated focus on their homes and gardens as a result of the pandemic. Blue Diamond’s broad, high quality ranges with so much exclusive product position us well to take advantage of these trends, as we have already seen in our continuing outperformance of industry figures.
"We also now have an operational online business that we can develop in coming years. It is still unclear what kind of world will emerge from the pandemic, but I am optimistic that Blue Diamond can continue to thrive in it.”
See the full interim report at: https://www.bluediamond.gg/sites/default/files/uploads/R%2BA_Interim%202020_FINAL.pdf