Pottery giant Churchill China has seen revenue and profits climb in the first half of the year as it continues to recover from Covid-19.
For the six months to June 30, 2021, the Stoke-on-Trent-based business recorded total revenues of £23.9 million – this is 27 per cent up from the £18.9 million for the same period last year.
While pre-tax profits doubled to £1 million from £0.5 million in the first half of 2020.
Churchill bosses say the latest financial results reflect the company’s “strong performance” following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
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In a statement to the stock exchange, chairman Alan McWalter said: “I am pleased to report that Churchill’s trading has continued to recover strongly following the easing of covid-related market restrictions in the UK, Europe and other export markets in the second quarter of 2021.
“Our decision to maintain operational levels when many of our markets were dormant has allowed us to secure a swift recovery as market demand has increased.
“Current trading is at levels ahead of the comparable period in 2019 and whilst market activity has not yet fully returned, we believe we have secured further gains in market share across our key markets in line with our long term growth objectives.
“Our commitment to maintaining customer service levels led us to build inventory during 2020 and the early part of 2021 and this has allowed us to meet increasing order levels in the second quarter and into the third quarter of the year.
“We are now raising manufacturing output to maintain customer service in support of the recovery in demand.”
Mr McWalter said the company’s performance during the first half of 2021 reflects the impact of market restrictions on the hospitality industry with early sales below expectations due to the ongoing lockdowns in the UK, Europe and USA.
But as restrictions relaxed – first in the UK and USA and later in Europe – the company saw a strong increase in orders.
Manufacturing output is now at 70 per cent of where it was in the first half of 2019, but the company is now increasing its output to meet customer demand.
This has led to the creation of 100 new roles across the company’s manufacturing and logistics departments.
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The chairman also revealed that Churchill will increase its investment in the business during the second half of the year to improve its sustainability, production and capacity.
Future projects include installing another kiln, further investment in solar power generation and recruiting more staff in ‘key areas.’
Mr McWalter added: “It is not yet clear which course the pandemic and associated market restrictions may take over the coming months and we have retained both flexibility and a strongfinancial position in order to be able to respond to any renewed issues.
“The company continues to trade in line with the board’s expectations and we remain confident that we will make good progress against our business and financial targets in both the short and long term.”