Go Inspire returns to profit and targets growth

Darryl Danielli
Thursday, November 12, 2020

Go Inspire Group’s full results have demonstrated a return to profit at pre-tax profit level and highlighted how the business has combatted the impact of the pandemic.

Headley: results show the progression of the business
Headley: results show the progression of the business

According to its full audited accounts, in the 12 months to 31 March 2020, sales rose almost 2% to £71.5m, with 2019’s £1.9m pre-tax loss turned around to a £1.1m profit this year.

As previously reported, EBITDA was up £1m to £7.7m.

“We had one month of Covid, which was March, in the numbers, without that we would have got to £8m [EBITDA],” said chief executive Patrick Headley.

“I think this shows the progression of the business since the acquisition of Eclipse Group.”

The figures included closure costs of 4DM and also the sale and leaseback of three properties: the 4DM warehouse and the two Eclipse sites.

The accounts also detailed that the group had made just under 60 staff redundant in response to the impact of the pandemic by the end of July, primarily in back office roles.

“It’s never easy for the people involved, but we had to get lean. It’s a case of having to lighten the load of the ship so that it can rise above the level of the rocks,” said Headley.

Although he added that all staff were npw back from furlough as it been “mailed out” with a record October.

In fact, Headley highlighted that while the performance first six months of the 20/21 year had been “suppressed” due to the impact of the pandemic, it had still achieved an EBITDA of just over £1m in the period. This included the furlough support, although the business hasn’t accessed any CLBILS loans.

“The frustrating thing is that if we hadn’t have had this latest lockdown then we would have been on for a better six months [in the second half] than we did at the same time last year,” he said.

Like many bosses, Headley said he was frustrated by the lack of consistency in government policy in terms of lockdown, with its previous focus on a regional approach and a national lockdown repeatedly being dismissed up to the eleventh hour.

“[But] hopefully if Boris does the right thing and releases us on the 2 December then I think we’ll see a massive ramp up in activity and I think that will be good news for the industry as a whole," he added. 

The accounts also detail that the directors expect consolidation in the market to be accelerated by the pandemic, something which Headley said the group, which had a strong cash availability position, was well placed to capitalise on.

“I know we will ride [the pandemic] out and we’re looking to buy, albeit cautiously at the moment because whenever you buy you want a bit of consistency around the marketplace.”

While he said the latest lockdown had impacted the business, he said he believed it would be short term.

“No one likes inconsistency, everyone just pull their horns in. So, we did see some work cancelled.

I’m really hoping that we get a positive signal from the government soon to indicate they’ll stick to 2 December, so businesses can start to plan.”

And while he broadly welcomed the extension of the furlough scheme he did highlight that it doesn’t come without problems.

“It’s a difficult one for me, because it does promote zombie businesses which are effectively dead, but hang on because they have got rid of all their costs, but it ultimately hits the supply chain which impacts us all,” he said.

As part of its growth plan, Headley said the group is in the final stages of rebranding its GI Insight strategy business to Go Inspire, under the leadership of managing director Beth Tait who joined the group as marketing director a couple of years ago.

“Go Inspire will be a strategic delivery business that is focused on selling to the likes of CEOs and CMOs, and within the group we will have three delivery businesses, Eclipse, Solutions and Connect and clients can either access delivery through our Go Inspire marketing suite if you like, or with the delivery businesses direct. Basically, it’s about making us agile for our clients.”

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