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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Half-year profits up 50 per cent at Carlisle-based H&H Group

Cumbrian farming to printing firm H&H Group has unveiled a downturn defying 50 per cent rise in half-year profits.

The Carlisle company made £1 million in the first six months of its financial year after sales increased by an impressive £2.2m.

It is easily the biggest half-year profit in the firm’s history and comes only three years after it broke the £1m mark for full-year profits for the first time.

The performance is all the more remarkable given the harsh economic climate with Britain teetering on the brink of a second recession.

H&H chiefs have sounded a note of caution despite the good news, saying they remain “nervous” about how the economy will fare this year.

Increased turnover at its Harrison and Hetherington livestock business was chiefly responsible for the jump in profits, which cover the six months to December 31. Its acquisition of Penrith’s Reeds Printers, since rebranded H&H Reeds Printers, also contributed.

H&H Group chief executive Brian Richardson said: “This is a very pleasing set of results against the background of an economy still trying to decide if it is in recession or growth. These results are a great tribute to the management and staff in all our businesses.

“We are firmly focused on investing in growth and continuing to look at the long-term development of all our companies. We have invested significantly in people and facilities to support this expansion.”

H&H Bowe – the company’s land agency division – expanded during the period after snapping up Durham-based agent Nicholson and Weston.

Estate agent H&H King performed well despite the volatile housing market.

And H&H Borderway Finance, its car finance arm, delivered similar results to the previous year, maintaining a “high quality lending portfolio”.

Shareholder dividends will increase by 23 per cent to an interim figure of 8p, with share prices increasing to £21.85.

Mr Richardson added: “Traditionally, the first half of our financial year is our strongest and we remain nervous about how the economy will hold up.

“However we have a first class team who are all committed to developing the business for the long term whilst delivering first class services to our customers.”

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