Mannok increase earnings in 2020 despite twin challenges of Covid and Brexit

The publication of Mannok’s 2020 performance review shows a robust post lockdown recovery and a positive outlook for 2021, with the company posting an increase in earnings (EBITDA: Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation & Amortisation) of 17% to €31.1m for the 12 months ending 31 December 2020.

The strong performance comes despite the unprecedented twin challenges of Covid and Brexit during the period, which included a halt on all non-essential production at the company’s multiple manufacturing plants during Q2.

2020 also saw the company take on a rebrand from Quinn to Mannok, marking the culmination of a 6-year transformation and investment programme that saw sales and employment increase by 44% and 25% respectively. The timing of the rebrand was a bold decision given the uncertainty of the aforementioned challenges, but one which has been welcomed by the industry and has been seen as a successful endeavour to date.

And in a year like no other, Mannok’s significant investment continued, to the tune of €6.7m in the period, bringing total investment to €66m since the acquisition of the businesses in December 2014.

Commenting, Liam McCaffrey, Chief Executive Officer said: “The safety and welfare of our staff and their families has been, and remains, of paramount importance through the pandemic.  As an organisation with operations on both sides of the border, we are enormously grateful for the support and commitment of our 800+ colleagues in helping to navigate the twin challenges of Covid-19 and the Brexit transition.  Careful resource planning and operational agility, facilitated by the significant investment we have made in our sales support, logistics and customs management infrastructure, have ensured uninterrupted supply chains for our customers across the construction and food industries on the island of Ireland and in Great Britain.”

Performance Highlights:

  • EBITDA increased from €26.6m to €31.1m. Revenue remained materially consistent at €233m, demonstrating strong resilience to the impact of Covid-19 on trading during the year.
  • 2020 saw good sales and margin increases across Cement and Packaging, partly offset by higher raw material costs for Insulation products.
  • Covid 19: Safety was the No. 1 priority in 2020 with extensive measures put in place to protect staff and customers.
  • Positive response internally and externally to new identity with rebranding ongoing across Mannok’s entire fleet, premises and product range.
  • Cash generation from operating activities improved by over 44% from €21.7m to €31.3m which aided a reduction in net debt in the period of €19.4m.
  • Investment of €6.7m in the period, primarily in manufacturing technology and capacity enhancement, bringing total investment to €66m since the acquisition of the businesses in December 2014, with a further €6.1m of investment already in train for 2021.

“Post the initial lockdown, trading recovered strongly in the second half of the year, supported by approximately €66m of new investment over the past six years.  While the business has experienced some impact on trading activities over recent months, with a number of customer projects being delayed as a result of Covid-19, underlying demand has remained strong.  Given our ongoing exposure to the food and construction sectors, the very positive response to our rebranding and the potential tail-wind of a vaccine-driven economic recovery, the outlook for 2021 is positive,” Liam added.

Commenting, Chief Financial Officer, Dara O’Reilly said: “Through timely adjustment to our manufacturing levels during the initial lockdown, we succeeded in managing our cost base and resource allocation whilst ensuring seamless supplies to essential industries. We continue to monitor our markets very closely as well as the supply of key input materials for our Insulation and Packaging businesses in particular.  Notwithstanding a positive outlook and good demand, we are expecting some margin compression as a result of inflationary cost pressures in 2021.”

Mannok comprises two key divisions, Building Products and Packaging, both are robust and diversified businesses, deemed essential throughout Covid.  Its key activities are the manufacture, of cement, concrete, quarry, insulation materials and products, as well as the manufacturing of packaging products, mainly for the food industry.

With a locally based workforce of approximately 830 employees, corporate and social responsibility remains an important element of the company’s business agenda.  Community related initiatives in 2020 included ongoing support for biodiversity initiatives, expanding its sponsorship and engagement with local schools, as well as becoming a partner in the Innovating Communities initiative which provides free training and mentoring to empower local people and groups to work together and overcome challenges facing their area.

Across both its divisions, the company has continued to enhance its Environmental, Health and Safety credentials.  Sustainability is a key focus of recent and future investment by Mannok.  Future business-wide activity in this area will be coordinated by a newly appointed Sustainability Manager who will lead the company’s biodiversity and carbon-reducing initiatives and refine the long-term sustainability strategy for the business.

Having successfully transitioned 100% of its Packaging products to being fully recyclable, Mannok’s key sustainability focus has now shifted to carbon reduction across all company operations. Initiatives currently underway in this area include collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI, as well as feasibility support from Innovate UK. Mannok has already approved investment of over €6m for sustainability initiatives including research and development of reduced carbon cement, alternative fuels for mobile plant and fleet assets and an enhanced emissions filtration system for the business’ cement plant.