Grafenia gains CBILS loan to help ride out crisis

Jo Francis
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has stymied Grafenia’s hopes of achieving breakeven EBITDA in the second half of its financial year, with sales down and losses increasing, in part due to one-off costs.

Gunning: praise for what group's teams were able to achieve
Gunning: praise for what group's teams were able to achieve

Sales at the Manchester-headquartered PLC slipped from £15.96m to £15.6m in the year to 31 March, while operating losses increased by £327,000 to just over £3.3m.

The EBITDA loss was £1.23m (2019 loss: £1.1m).

However, net debt more than halved, reducing to £1.42m from £3.12m.

At the half-year stage the group had hoped to achieve breakeven EBITDA on a monthly run rate basis for the rest of the year.

Chairman Jan-Hendrik Mohr said: ‘Importantly, these results include several cost items that are either one-time in nature, or constitute up-front costs, rather than ongoing operating costs.

“Some firms decide to back-out many costs from their profit and loss statement to arrive at some 'adjusted' figure. I find that a slippery slope, as it opens the door to mark every cost as 'extraordinary' or 'non-recurring'. Such accounting doesn't help with cost discipline internally. Also, communicating what ends up being a 'profit before cost' doesn't help external readers either,” he stated.

In his commentary, CEO Peter Gunning said that trading began being impacted by the cancellation of events from January onwards.

It affected business at its Nettl partner network and dampened US expansion plans.

While demand for websites went up, Gunning said that “after Covid-19 hit, litho print volumes essentially went to zero. Not only for us, but for the entire industry”.

By March sales were 65% of the prior year due to the coronavirus impact, falling to 30% in April.

In June sales had recovered to 90% of last year, he said, “and we achieved breakeven at EBITDA level”.

The outlook, though, is unclear.

“In July, sales ended around 70% of last year. We still do not have visibility on what will happen to our clients as economic stimulus ends. We have a diverse product portfolio and it is likely that a significant number of our competitors will be impacted by the economic climate, perhaps fatally,” he stated.

“When I look back at how many products we sold in June that didn't exist in March, it's even more astonishing what our teams were able to achieve. More than half our sales in June were for Covid-secure products. We're grateful for their combined efforts in invention, merchandising, prototyping, selling and manufacturing,” Gunning said.

In addition, new products now available via its Works Makers third-party makers option include coasters, bunting, printed socks, golf umbrellas, wristbands and mugs.

After the year-end, the group refinanced its assets and secured a £1m CBILS working capital loan via Close Brothers. It also raised £2.1m through a bond issue.

“With funding secured, the directors believe that the group is well placed to manage its business risks successfully despite the current uncertain economic outlook caused by Covid-19,” the firm stated.

Shares in Grafenia were static on the news at 7.50p (52-week high: 12.00p, low: 2.50p). The share price was 6.50p on Monday. 



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