Scrap metal recycler S Norton lost £27.6m after tax last year and says it has been hit hard by the global steel crisis.
The company’s financial report reveals that annual turnover for 2015 fell to £139m, down from £228m a year earlier, as a result of plummeting steel prices due to excessive production in China and the global economic slowdown.
Chairman John Norton described the company’s last financial year as “exceptionally challenging”, having broken even the year before.
Norton says the 2015 loss was due to devaluation of holdings of high-value scrap, although prices are expected to recover strongly when markets improve. It also invested in new equipment at all its sites.
He added: “Despite this loss, the company managed to significantly reduce its bank debt during the year; through much improved trading in 2016 we have now managed to achieve a cash-positive position.”
Purchasing director Charlie Norton said: “Trading for the first half of 2016 has been profitable and the company is currently generating strong cash flows. We recognise the need to invest for the future and are expecting to develop the business in a number of new directions over the next few years.”
The family-run firm has metal recycling operations in Liverpool, Manchester, London and Southampton.
It recently restructured, with the addition of four new directors and promotion for Armen Arslanian, commercial manager, so that the owners John, Charlie and Matt Norton could devote more time to strategy and longer-term direction of the business.