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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Ainscough falls into the red again

Financial results posted by Britain’s biggest mobile crane hire company show that the covid pandemic impacted the business beyond the initial industrial shutdown in spring 2020.

Ainscough Crane Hire’s results for its financial year 2021 show improvement on the 2020 numbers but still substantially short of its pre-pandemic results.

In the year to 24th September 2021, Ainscough made a loss for the second year running, losing £1.1m before tax on turnover of £89.6m.

This was an improvement of the previous year’s £7.5m pre-tax loss and turnover was up 20% on 2020’s £74.5m.

Operating profit before tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) doubled to £13.1m in 2021 (2020: £6.7m).

However, in the pre-covid year to September 2019 Ainscough Crane Hire had made a pre-profit of £1.7m on turnover of £123.1m. Thus business in 2021 was still 27% down on 2019.

Total net assets have also decreased, to £48.4m in the latest accounts, from £49.4m in 2020 and £79.6m in 2019).

The average number of employees in the year to 24th September 2021 was 785 (557 in operations and 228 in administration), compared to 819 the previous year.

Writing in the annual report, chief financial officer Ian Scapens said: “During the period, the business has continued to be affected by Covid-19 and the impact that the global pandemic had on the United Kingdon and global economy. This has resulted in delays in the commencement of a wide range of infrastructure projects scheduled to start in the period with a corresponding impact on demand for the company’s services.”

Ainscough these days is ultimately owned by three investment vehicles registered in Luxembourg by GSO Capital Partners, which is part of the Blackstone group.

“The company continues to receive the on-going support of Blackstone,” the CFO said.

“However, there is no committed facility from Blackstone to provide additional funding to support the company in the event of a material downturn in trading.”

It does, though, have a £20m shareholder loan facility with GSO, of which £10.2m was drawn down in February 2021, with an interest rate of 15% a year and repayable by January 2031.

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