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CFO's review

In FY21 we were able to demonstrate the resilience of our evolving business model. The Group has traded well and reduced debt. The outlook in the recovery phase is positive.

The response of our teams to manage changes resulting from the pandemic was exceptional and I would like to thank all of our employees for their commitments to maintain our essential services and to keep the company safe. The first finance tasks when the pandemic started were to cut costs, preserve cash and ensure our banking covenants were sufficient to withstand the worst of outcomes. We were successful in all these areas:

  • Cost savings of over €19m were delivered against our initial target of €15m. In addition to these short-term actions, our Covid-19 cost action plan has resulted in the actual and planned closures of six processing lines or sites, which will rationalise our footprint going forward

  • Cash reductions of over €77m were delivered against our initial target of €60m. Capital expenditure was reduced by 16% vs the prior year and a working capital inflow of €35m was better than expected, excluding €54m of tax deferrals in the Netherlands

  • We increased our main bank facility leverage covenant to as high as 6.0x during the year before it reverts to the normal 3.5x from September 2021. We were grateful to the banks for their strong support, although it has not been needed as leverage has fallen through the year to 2.2x at 31 March 2021 as a result of the actions taken

Read the full review on page 37/41 of the Annual Report.

Toby Woolrych
Chief Financial Officer