Glasgow's Macfarlane Group stays in black despite coronavirus hit

Glasgow-based protective packaging specialist Macfarlane Group has told investors that it expects to remain profitable in 2020 and operate “well within” its borrowing facility despite being knocked by the coronavirus crisis.

Glasgow based Macfarlane Group is the largest supplier of protective packaging in the UK.

Providing an update to investors since its annual general meeting was staged in May, the firm said its sales performance had been more resilient than previously anticipated in the second quarter of 2020. Total revenues were down just 7 per cent compared to the same period a year earlier.

It noted: “We have continued to experience weakness in the automotive, aerospace and high street retail sectors but this has been partly offset by underlying strength in the e-commerce, medical, food and household essentials sectors, which demonstrates the benefit of our broad customer base.

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“This will result in sales for the half year, inclusive of the benefit of last year’s acquisitions, being 3 per cent down on the first half in 2019.”

The group said that all of its sites have remained open and trading throughout the lockdown period, albeit with reduced levels of activity due to market disruption.

Macfarlane furloughed about 30 per cent of its staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in the second quarter. However, in the light of the better-than-expected trading performance, and as the firm gradually brings employees back from furlough, it does not intend to make any further claims under the scheme and in the second half of the year will look to repay sums already received.

The firm added: “It is still not possible for the company to provide meaningful guidance on trading for the financial year. However, based on ongoing actions and current levels of trading, we expect the business to remain profitable in 2020 and to operate well within the current borrowing facility.”

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