A Scottish campervan converter which moved to employee ownership in 2018 has flagged a 19 per cent rise in annual profits fuelled by an increase in productivity.

North Berwick-based Jerba Campervans, on the back of the advances, increased the profit-share bonus paid to all employees at a flat rate at the end of February to £2,800 from £2,100 a year earlier.

Revenues were steady at £2.6 million in the year to January 2020, a period in which the firm completed 54 full conversions of Volkswagen T6.1 Transporter vehicles into bespoke campervans.

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Jerba, which employs 14 people, furloughed its staff under the UK Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, and brought its full workforce back into the factory when it restarted production in late June.

It noted its staff had declined from 15 to 14 with one former employee having relocated recently for personal reasons.

Jerba projected that revenues in the 2020 calendar year would be down by around 25% on 2019 as a result of the pause in production amid the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Simon Poole, co-founder and director of Jerba, said: “We had [approximately] four months of work to catch up on and are now booked until mid-November. For the next six months ahead – I’m cautious but optimistic. Staycations and campervans are currently in vogue. Enquiries are up, but these need to turn into orders.”

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He added: “We should build campervans at roughly the same rate as we did in the first half for the second half of the year, but being one person less...and having some new ways of working in regard to Covid will have a small impact. However, we’re always finding ways to speed up production through better ideas, improved processes etc. Revenues will therefore be around 25% down on 2019 – basically reflecting the lockdown period.”

The 9% rise in productivity in the year to January 2020 relates to turnover per workshop-based employee. Jerba declined to disclose the profit figure.

Mr Poole said: “Like with all businesses, the pandemic threw everything up in the air for us. But I’m relieved to be in the situation we are in – knowing we are in a very fortunate position.

“Whether or not the predicted boom in staycations fully materialises or not, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing, working with our small team to build bespoke campervans that we hope go on to become beloved by their owners.”