Associated Hardware back in profit after six years
Associated Hardware, the nationwide hardware and buying group, has returned to profitability for the first time since 2007 after the impact of a turnaround plan took hold.
Accounts seen by the Irish Independent show it swung into a €262,000 profit last year, compared to a €2.8m loss in 2011. Turnover fell to €50m, however, from €73m in 2011. It's declined from €205m in 2007.
The return to profitability came as exceptional charges at the group fell sharply. In 2011, the company incurred slightly under €3m in exceptional items, but last year that figure dropped to €450,000.
The €450,000 exceptional item in 2012 related entirely to bad debts. In 2011, €1.43m of the exceptionals related to bad debts and €1.54m to restructuring costs.
Padraic Glynn, chairman of Associated Hardware, said he was pleased with the return to profitability, which he said had been achieved through successful implementation of a strategy to help the business recover and the continuing support of its members.
"Whilst trading conditions and the economic outlook are still extremely challenging there are signs that the rate of decline in activity and sales in our sector slowing down and stabilising," he said. "The recent stimulus tax incentive package announced in Budget 2014 should also help in this regard."
Operating profit from continuing operations last year was €921,000 compared to €972,000 in 2011. The company employed just 24 people at the end of last year compared to 48 in 2011 and 56 the year before.
Associated Hardware has about 40 members and helps them to improve their purchasing power to better compete with big multiples. Those members trade under the Homevalue brand.
Mr Glynn added that he expects profitability at Associated Hardware will increase this year and that the group has a "clear strategy and plan" to deliver added value and margin enhancement for its members.