By Kristy Dorsey

Maxi Group, the construction and haulage business based in Ayrshire, has said it is well-placed to deal with the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to its operations.

That assurance came as owner and chairman Gerry Atkinson revealed lower revenues and profits for the group during the financial year to September 2019. The year covered an extended period of Brexit-related turmoil that led to “huge” additional costs from hauling goods between Great Britain and Ireland.

Mr Atkinson said the group made a pre-tax profit of £1 million, down by more than half from the £2.5m posted previously. Turnover dipped by a smaller margin to £80.5m against the prior year’s £85m.

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Maxi Haulage transports goods such as food and vehicle parts between the Britain and Ireland. During the run-up to the UK’s technical exit from the EU, panic buying led to huge flows of goods going into Ireland, with many trucks returning empty at significant cost.

The construction division delivered a record profit for the year, and continued to “do well” coming into 2020 until the coronavirus pandemic closed construction sites. Work is now beginning to resume, Mr Atkinson said, but “at a slower pace than we would have liked”.

The haulage business continued operating through the worst of the crisis, but at a reduced turnover. It is currently running at about 85% of previous levels.

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As a result, Mr Atkinson anticipates a further decline in profits this year to “several hundred thousand”. But with positive cash flow, “substantial financial reserves” and zero borrowings, he added: “Fortunately we are in a strong position. We don’t have any bank managers chasing us.”

The group has made “about 20” redundancies, taking its headcount to approximately 370. It invested £4m in its plant and facilities last year, including the extension of the haulage warehouse at its Bellshill depot.