Our performance improved as the year progressed, despite the pandemic. I am pleased to report final results are significantly better than we had anticipated in early 2020. This is due to the determined efforts of our people as they delivered seamless service to our customers and communities in the most challenging environment. These results also reflect our swift actions on cost and cash, our resilient business model and the strengthening recyclate prices in the second half.
The financial performance in the year ended 31 March 2021 was significantly better than we had originally expected at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was driven by our swift actions on cost and cash, our resilient business model and by stronger recyclate prices in the second half. As a result, underlying EBIT from ongoing businesses fell by only 3% to €73.0m. With a significant reduction in exceptional items, statutory profit increased to €11.0m (FY20: loss of €77.1m). Core net debt reduced by €113m to €344m and our leverage ratio reduced to 2.2x (FY20: 3.0x).
Sustainability is at the heart of our business model. Our purpose of giving new life to used materials enables the circular economy, which is essential if society is to meet its carbon reduction goals. We have therefore maintained our focus on the longer-term strategic drivers for Renewi: increasing our recycling rate; increasing the quantity and quality of the secondary materials we supply; expanding our market share and improving both efficiency and customer service through our Renewi 2.0 programme. Good progress has been made with the strategy and we remain well positioned to benefit from the continuing drive towards circularity of the European economies.
Otto de Bont