Scotland business

Shop fitter Havelock Europa 'effectively debt free'

Primark store fitted out by Havelock Image copyright Havelock Europa
Image caption Havelock's clients include high street chains such as Primark

Shop and office fitting firm Havelock Europa has reported it is "effectively debt free", despite a "challenging" trading year.

The firm, which began a recovery plan in 2012 to control costs and improve efficiency, said it held net cash of £1.4m, offset by debts of £1.2m.

Fife-based Havelock said retail and international sales improved in 2014.

But its performance was hit by reduced activity in education and financial services.

Group revenue last year fell by more than £6m to £83.4m, while pre-tax profit before exceptional costs dropped from £400,000 to £200,000.

Reducing debt has been a key goal for the company since its bank debt hit nearly £20m in 2009.

The group's recovery plan includes developing a broader mix of business in order to "increase resilience and reduce dependence on particular markets and customers".

Havelock's client list includes high street names such as Alliance Boots, Lloyds Banking Group, Marks & Spencer, Primark, Virgin Money and House of Fraser.

'Developing and diversifying'

In his annual results statement, chairman David MacLellan said: "The focus of the business continues to be centred on developing and diversifying across five main sectors: retail, financial services, Education/accommodation, healthcare and international.

"Retail, financial services and education are currently the strongest and most mature sectors and each is capable of delivering around 30% of group revenue.

"Over the long term, we aim to create a balance between sectors with no one sector contributing more than 30% of long term sales.

"Expansion of healthcare and international are key elements of this strategy."

Havelock is still seeking a new chief executive after Eric Prescott stepped down last month.

The company is set to move to new headquarters in Kirkcaldy, having sold its Dalgety Bay premises for £700,000. The cash will be reinvested in fitting out the new head office.

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