Bosses at Fraserburgh manufacturing firm Gray & Adams (G&A) have hailed a 22% jump in annual profits as a “credit to the workforce”.
The result could have been “very different had we been closed for longer”, one of the two brothers who run the business told The Press and Journal.
G&A, whose refrigerated rigids and trailers are a familiar sight on roads throughout the UK, had to shut its manufacturing facilities in Fraserburgh, Dunfermline, Doncaster and Newtownabbey, just outside Belfast, for six weeks from March 23 2020 because of a strict Covid-19 lockdown.
The business was back up and running at half capacity by May 4 that year and more staff returned to work over the following months
But the enforced break affected results for the 12 months to April 30 2021.
Even so, G&A notched up pre-tax profits of £8 million – up from just under £6.6m a year earlier.
And turnover for the latest period was down only slightly at £149.3m, from £149.7m previously.
Over the past three years sales and pre-tax profits have averaged £150m and £7.6m respectively.
Springboard for growth
Joint group managing directors James and Peter Gray, whose late father, Jim, founded the business in 1957, said the 2020-21 performance was a good springboard for growth.
James Gray, 66, said: “Despite lower output in the first quarter of the financial year, activity levels in 2021 were consistent with 2020.
“Given the very challenging situation brought upon the business by the pandemic, the directors believe the 2021 annual results are a credit to the workforce and could have been very different had we been closed for longer.”
He added: “We have a strong order book and can expect strong levels of activity to continue, however, we are mindful of the impact from both price inflation and supply issues which are an ongoing challenge.
“We continue to build for the future, with a multi-phase investment project in Fraserburgh which has seen the completion of a brand new 10-bay multifunctional facility.”
G&A is also building a new accident repair facility for cars and commercial vehicles.
Peter Gray, 63, said the “strong” financial performance was a “direct result of the continued success of our products”, while he also highlighted a string of gongs that came the way of G&A last year.
These include a posthumous lifetime achievement award for Jim Gray, who died early last year, aged 86, following a short illness and within eight weeks of losing his wife of 66 years, Norma.
This year may deliver more accolades as the firm has been shortlisted in two categories of the upcoming Northern Star Business Awards.
It is in the running for the overall business and family business of the year titles.
Jim Gray’s vision, energy and drive built G&A from its humble roots as a car body repair workshop at 43 School Street, Fraserburgh, into one of the UK’s leading family-owned manufacturing businesses.
Today, the company is run from a large site on South Road and employs about 750 people.
Its refrigerated rigids and trailers are used by all the major supermarkets and many other household names in UK retailing.