Source - LSE Regulatory
RNS Number : 0786T
Ibstock PLC
22 March 2021
 

22 March 2021

 

Ibstock plc ("the Company" or "the Group")

 Annual Financial Report

Further to the release of the Company's preliminary results announcement on 10 March 2021 (the "Results Announcement"), the Company announces that it has today published its full Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2020.

The Company also announces that it will be posting copies of the documents listed below to shareholders later today:

1.

2020 Annual Report and Accounts

2.

Notice of Annual General Meeting ("AGM") 2021

The AGM  will be held at 11:00am on Thursday 22 April 2021 at the offices of Ibstock plc, 54 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8HN.

A copy of each of these documents will be submitted to the UK Listing Authority via the National Storage Mechanism and will shortly be available for inspection at https://data.fca.org.uk/#/nsm/nationalstoragemechanism

The 2020 Annual Report and Accounts and Notice of Annual General Meeting 2021 will also be accessible later today via the Company's website at www.ibstockplc.co.uk/investor-relations 

Regretfully, the current issues surrounding COVID-19 and the public health guidance in the UK have meant that we have taken the decision to discourage shareholders from attending the AGM in person, but we will be providing details on our website of a webcast so shareholders are able to observe  proceedings. For the avoidance of doubt this approach does not impact shareholders' ability to vote on the resolutions being proposed and information regarding the voting procedure can be found in the Notice of AGM. Any changes to the AGM (including any change to the location) will be communicated to shareholders before the meeting through our website and, where appropriate, by RNS announcement.   

 

The Appendix to this announcement is a supplement to the Results Announcement and should be read together with the Results Announcement. It contains the information required, pursuant to DTR 6.3.5, to be communicated to the media in unedited full text that is in addition to the information communicated in the Results Announcement. This announcement is not a substitute for reading the full Annual Report and Accounts. Page numbers and cross references in the text below refer to page numbers and cross references in the Annual Report and Accounts 2020. 

 

 

Appendix

 

Principal risks and uncertainties

 

DESCRIPTION

MITIGATION

 

 Climate change

 

The Group may not deliver upon its

sustainability commitments and those targets set out in the Sustainability Roadmap.

 

An inability to manage energy demand needs within our sustainability targets or changes in consumer demand may reduce our competitive advantage.

 

Failure to respond to climate change risks may also result in reductions in investor interest and support.

 

As a business engaged in the extraction of

natural resources and the manufacture of

concrete products, there is a risk that the

Group's operations are targeted by

environmental activists. This could result in disruption at one or more of the Group's

manufacturing facilities inhibiting the ability to manufacture or despatch product or receive supplies.

 

The impact of climate change and

Government's response to this could also lead to changes to laws and regulations that could

require that the Group make significant

capital investments or otherwise increase its

costs or could result in material liabilities.

 

The global increase in focus on corporate

social responsibility following the pandemic

has greatly raised the profile of the Group's

approach and success with its sustainability

programme. The approach taken by the

Group when dealing with all its stakeholders

will be placed under increased scrutiny in the

wake of the current crisis and beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We recognise the importance of being a sustainable business and that climate change affects natural and economic systems, and recognise their implications in all we do.
 

As a business, there are a number of International and British standards operated throughout our businesses which include environmental, energy, responsible sourcing and quality. These provide a consistent set of
procedures which are regularly reviewed and updated to identify ways in which they can be made more effective.

 

The Group aims to provide visibility and assurance to our stakeholders through our disclosure in relation to sustainability (see pages 36 to 45), which is supported by continued investment to improve the sustainability of our operations and internal sustainability KPIs to track measures. A new KPI centred on carbon reduction has been introduced for the FY 2020 and is an additional measure for our LTIP.

 

The Group has a proven record of investment in the latest systems, plant, machinery and technology and we continue to address the need for enabling conditions to address climate change concerns through the development of our Sustainability Roadmap 2025.

 

The Group Technical team and Group Engineering function are investing in longer-term strategic supplier partnerships in order to deliver longer-term sustainable products to our customers.

 

We operate proactive management of the sustainability descriptions associated with the Group's products. Physical security measures are in place at the Group's production facilities, together with real-time monitoring of social media to identify threats of environmental activism.

 

The introduction of a new ESG Committee will provide clear and strategic oversight of the Group's sustainability strategy. It will provide the basis to ensure that all existing
and emerging issues are covered appropriately so that the Group will be able to continue to meet both its legal obligations and further develop its Sustainability Roadmap.

 

The Group will continually keep under review the level of resourcing and structure in place to manage sustainability within the business.

 

Operational disruption

 

A material disruption, including those caused
by extreme weather, power outages or a
global pandemic, at one of the Group's
manufacturing facilities or quarries, or at
one of the Group's suppliers' facilities,
could prevent the Group from meeting
customer demand.

 

The Group depends on efficient and
uninterrupted operations of its information
and communication technology, and any
disruption to these operations could have a
material adverse effect on the Group's
operations and financial performance.
Failure to deliver capital enhancements on a
timely basis could similarly extend planned
closures and adversely impact the Group's
production capabilities.

 

Additionally, the Group is exposed to the
impact of unexpected or prolonged periods of
bad weather, which could adversely affect
construction activity and, as a result,
demand for the Group's products
 

 

The Group has the ability to transfer some of its production across its network of plants and is able to engage subcontractors to reduce the impact of certain production disruptions. Groupwide business continuity plans are being refreshed and improved to take account of those learnings coming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In relation to supplier disruption or failure, further third party suppliers have been identified who can maintain service in
the event of a disruption. In relation to IT, a major incident action plan has been developed and the Group maintains data backups and a comprehensive disaster recovery plan covering Group and individual factory locations.


The Group maintains a capital expenditure development plan, which is focused on integrating the latest technology and replacing end-of-life assets to ensure
continued operational capability. The ongoing
maintenance programme ensures a disciplined approach to plant outages, whilst ensuring greater investment in
maintenance on an ongoing basis. This is supported by qualified project management resource to ensure disruption is minimised.

 

Management does not underestimate the potential impact that future prolonged periods of bad weather could have. Weather conditions are beyond the Group's
control, although historically adverse weather has not impacted trading in the context of any full year.

 

The Group maintains appropriate business interruption insurance, whilst its wide geographical spread mitigates this
risk to some extent and allows it to manage its production facilities to mitigate the impact of such disruption
.

 

Economic conditions

 

The Group's business could be materially
impacted by changes in the macroeconomic
environment in the UK. Specifically, demand
for the Group's products is strongly correlated
with residential construction and renovation
activities and non-residential construction,
together with the supply chain's attitude to
stock levels, which are cyclical.

 

Continued uncertainty around the progress of
the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction
of further lockdowns and restrictions could
further damage the economy with the
resulting impacts on the Group's business.

 

In addition, should negative impacts on
economic conditions arise as a result of the
change in the relationship with the EU, this
could include a reduction in housing demand,
or reduced mortgage availability or
affordability. Such consequences would likely
reduce demand for the Group's products

 

 Wider macroeconomic conditions are largely beyond the control of the Group. However, the Group seeks to analyse construction data using independent forecasts of construction statistics and forecasts of future demand based on stated customer requirements with
the aim of anticipating market movements.

 

The Group has historically flexed capacity and its cost base where possible during economic downturns to allow more of the Group's manufacturing plants to remain open and viable, maintaining skills, development and training. Actions taken during the year in order to reduce the ongoing fixed cost footprint of the Group through an organisational review and restructuring will provide flexibility for the business so that it can meet future demand levels in a cost-effective way.

 

Ibstock ensures that its fulfilment and customer service capabilities to support and serve customers are maintained and actively engage with industry bodies to ensure the promotion of housebuilding and construction, whilst seeking to promote the differentiating qualities of our business in the core
markets in which we compete.

 

The Group's RMI and specification product ranges diversify end-use exposure and provide greater resilience in light of changing market demand in any of its end-use markets

Anticipating the market and new product development

 

There is a risk that the business is not able to
identify opportunities in the housing market
or construction sector and miss chances to
maximise or exploit opportunities ahead of
our competitors. As result, our product
offering and the customer journey may not
meet changing customer requirements.


If the business is not able to respond to changes or opportunities in the market this could result in a direct financial cost whereby revenue numbers stagnate or decline. In addition, there is the risk that the business may not be perceived as market leader and this will directly impact their reputation and ability to expand market share.

 

Failure to be at the forefront of innovation as the Group's markets evolve may lead to a loss in market position or customers resulting in declining revenue or margins.
 

A lack of new product development and failure to optimise our supply chain to support our customers may also be detrimental to the
long-term achievement of the Group's strategy

 


 

 

Consideration of relevant market data and trends in the divisions highlights emerging risks as soon as they are identified, providing the leadership teams with the information required to make considered and fact based decisions.


The Group has a culture of innovation through its organisational structure, including suitably qualified and experienced people such as product managers in each of the operating divisions.


The Group's Growth Engine to secure sales opportunities enables more effective new and sustainable product development.


 

Financial risk management

 

 In addition to the input cost risks outlined, the
Group is subject to the following other
financial risks:

 

Foreign exchange risk: As the Group transacts in currencies other than Sterling, exchange rate fluctuations may adversely impact the Group's results.


Credit risk: Through its customers, the Group is exposed to a counterparty risk that accounts receivable will not be settled leading to a financial loss to the Group.


Liquidity risk: Insufficient funds could result in
the Group being unable to fund its operations.

 

Interest rate risk: Movements in interest rates
could adversely impact the Group and result in higher financing payments to service debt.
 

The impacts of COVID-19 and the adoption
of home working, changes to volumes and
patterns of transactional activity all served to
increase the financial control risks, through a
heightened potential for fraud and compromising the integrity of data within the organisation

 

 

 

Foreign exchange risk: The Group undertakes limited foreign exchange transactions selling domestically with largely local input costs. Some capital expenditure requires foreign exchange purchases and management
considers foreign exchange hedging strategies where significant exposures arise.

 

Credit risk: Customer credit risk is managed by each subsidiary subject to the Group's policy relating to customer credit risk management. The Group principally manages credit risk through management of customer credit limits. The credit limits are set for each customer based on the creditworthiness of the customer and the anticipated levels of business activity.
These limits are initially determined when the customer account is first set up and are regularly monitored thereafter.

 

Liquidity risk: The Group's policy is to ensure that it has sufficient funding and facilities in place to meet any foreseeable peak in borrowing requirements and liabilities
when they become due. At 31 December 2020, the Group has net debt1 of £69 million - well within the banking facilities
of £215 million, as set out in Note 19 of the Group financial statements. During the year it negotiated a number of amendments to a number of covenants under the RCF and
secured access to the COVID Corporate Financing Facility.


Interest rate risk: The Group finances its operations through a mixture of retained profits and bank borrowings. The Group's bank borrowings, other facilities
and deposits are in Sterling and at floating rates.


No interest rate derivative contracts have been entered into during the year or at the year end.


See mitigations under Cyber risk relative to the increased of financial control.

 

 

 

Government regulation and standards relating to the manufacture and use of building products

 

 The Group's production, manufacturing and
distribution activities are subject to health
and safety risks. The Group is subject to
environmental, health and safety laws and
regulations and these may change.
These laws and regulations could cause the
Group to make modifications to how it
manufactures and prices its products.

 

Greater regulation following the Grenfell tragedy has increased the risk that the Group's failure to comply with the relevant regulations would result in the Group being liable to fines or a suspension of operations, which would impact the Group's financial results, together with any associated negative reputational damage.
 

Additional regulation and responsibilities as
a result of continuing COVID-19 restrictions
including health and safety and wellbeing of
our workforce may also impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Group monitors the law across its markets to ensure the effects of changes are minimised and the Group complies with all applicable laws. The Group aligns Company-wide policies and procedures accordingly with training on mandatory topics and compliance requirements undertaken.

 

The health and wellbeing of our employees is fundamental to our business. We have stringent health and safety policies and monitor compliance regularly through internal and external auditing activity. This has been particularly important in light of COVID-19.

 

We reorganised the management of the health and safety function to provide more coordinated, central oversight to ensure alignment and consistency throughout the business.

 

We have also invested considerable resources in employee training across our manufacturing processes. We have invested heavily in safe systems and facilities to protect our employees. These activities have continued virtually, where possible, as a result of COVID-19.

Customer relationships and reputation

 

The Group receives a significant portion of its
revenue from key customers and the loss of
any such customer through our failure to
evolve effectively and meet the changing
needs of our customers could result in a
significant loss of revenue and cash flow.
Constriction in activity levels within the
construction industry introduces a risk that
price levels cannot be maintained, resulting in
dilution of margins or level of market share
and adversely impacting the Group's
financial results.

 

Further, the Group does not have long-term contracts with its customers and the Group's revenue could be reduced if its customers switch some or all of their business with the Group to other suppliers or if we are unable to leverage our customer
relationships effectively
 

 

 

 

 

The Group has a service-led ethos with many top customer relationships lasting over 40 years. The Group differentiates itself through the continued quality of its products and service levels with Net Promoter Score (NPS)
surveys completed to build customer relationships through proactive response to customer requirements.

 

The Group's sales and production teams are highly integrated to ensure that production aligns with customers' needs. Sales teams receive in-depth technical training and are assisted by a design support service team as well as targeted marketing materials to assist with specification and selection.


The Group's divisions each have their own sales teams aligned by customer group and region in order to focus on key decision-makers and customers. Key account
management is supervised at a senior level where long-term relationships benefit from the Group's commitment to quality, service and consistency. During the 2020 year, we amended our organisational structure to
move marketing teams into the divisional commercial teams, enabling us to understand and respond more effectively to the evolving needs of our customers.

 

Access to 145 million tonnes of clay reserves, Ibstock Clay's primary raw material, ensures an ability to satisfy customer demand.

 

Recruitment and retention of key personnel

 

The Group is dependent on qualified
personnel in key positions and employees
having special technical knowledge and skills.
Any loss of such personnel without timely
replacement could disrupt business
operations, damage customer relationships or
result in the loss of corporate knowledge.


There is a risk that the Group faces difficulties in attracting and retaining staff in production
roles, which are labour-intensive and potentially less attractive to the younger population.


Recent experience of COVID-19 and the impact of restructuring and redundancies could negatively affect morale

 

 

 

Focused action plans are in place as a result of the 'Great place to work' employee engagement survey aimed at further building on employee satisfaction.

 

Improved methods of communication such as My Ibstock and a focus on employee well being will help
in developing our culture and following an extremely difficult year.

 

Investment in our people through training and
development programmes is in place to upskill our existing workforce whilst we recognise the changing labour markets, and packages for key and senior staff remain competitive. We are proposing a new Senior
Managers Share Plan (SMSP) for 2021.

 

The Group believes that it is essential to support and develop the management team, where appropriate, ensuring that the team is structured in a way which best
takes advantage of the available skills and robustly identifies the team and structure for the future. Succession plans are in place, which is key to ensuring a managed transfer of roles and responsibilities.

 

Apprenticeship schemes are in operation with a yearly intake across the business (engineering and technical based). High potential individuals are identified with
development plans formulated. External recruits are brought in where any skill gaps are identified and to enhance the talent pool.

 

 

Input prices

 

The Group's business may be affected by
volatility in extraction expenses and raw
material costs. Risks exist around our ability
to pass on increased costs through price
increases to our customers.

 

The Group's business may also be affected by
volatility in energy costs or disruptions in
energy supplies. Significant changes in the
cost or availability of transportation could
affect the Group's results

 

 

 

Significant input costs are under constant review, with continuous monitoring of raw material costs, energy prices and haulage expenses, with the aim of achieving the best possible prices and assuring stability of supply.
 

With regard to possible energy shortages, the Group operates forward purchasing to mitigate the impact of sudden price increases and monitors the carbon market
on an ongoing basis and has modelled the impact of such rises to assess the financial implications (see Viability Statement on page 64).


As competitors of the Group are likely to experience similar levels of input price increases, we aim to have appropriate
pricing policies to remain competitive within our markets and pass on significant increases in input costs.

 

 

Product quality

 

The nature of the Group's business may
expose it to warranty claims and to claims for
product liability, construction defects, project
delay, property damage, personal injury and
other damages.

 

Ensuring accuracy of the Group's product data
is important to the Group's continued success
with any inaccurate data potentially placing
the end user at risk.

 

Any damage to the Group's brands, including
through actual or alleged issues with its
products, could harm our business, reputation
and the Group's financial results.

 

 

 

 

Focus on detailed product information has intensified, with the Group's customers demanding greater information regarding the product specifics.

 

The Group operates comprehensive quality control procedures across its sites with both internal and external audit reviews of product quality completed to ensure conformance with internationally recognised standards.

 

All accredited staff undergo rigorous training
programmes on quality and the Group's Technical teams carry out regular testing of all of our products to provide
full technical data on our product range.


The Group maintains appropriate insurance cover against product liability related claims.

 

 

Cyber security

 

High-profile attacks on companies across a
number of industry sectors (including one of
our own major customers) have highlighted
the damage that can now be caused by
hackers and cyber terrorists. Unauthorised access to the Group's IT
systems, malware attacks or hacking incidents represent the greatest cyber security risks to the Group.

 

Such IT security risks have the ability to significantly disrupt the Group's business, resulting in financial loss. Potential penalties could arise from the loss of data as a result of breaches to the Group's IT security or
reputational damage as a result of negative
publicity associated with control lapses in
this area.

 

Changes in employees' working patterns
and use of technology as a direct result of
COVID-19, along with the resulting risks to
information security have materially increased
cyber risks. The continuing prevalence of many colleagues continuing to work from home in some capacity for the foreseeable future will compound the near term challenges.

 

 

 

The Group is committed to ensure that its network, applications and data are protected.

 

The Group has completed a review using an external cyber security programme framework, which provides coverage across the key areas of cyber security and aligns with industry standards. This has culminated in the Group's achievement of the UK Government's Cyber Essentials accreditation, which is subject to independent audit annually.

 

Despite the pace of the change introduced when lockdown commenced in March, all equipment deployed was built to be image compliant with Ibstock policies and standards. In addition, the fast track introduction of new industry leading VPN services to handle the extended homeworking user community, the use of new applications such as Microsoft Teams/OneDrive to enable virtual meetings and collaboration and the disablement of existing vulnerable applications and processes ensure the business could and is expected to continue to operate effectively in the 'new normal'.

 

 

Directors' Responsibility Statement

The Directors, whose names and functions are given on pages 68 and 69 of the 2020 Annual Report and Accounts confirm that to the best of their knowledge:

-    the financial statements, prepared in accordance with the relevant financial reporting framework, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss of the Group and Company and the undertakings included in the consolidation

taken as a whole;

-    the Strategic Report and Directors' Report include a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the Group and Company and the undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that they face.

 

The Directors consider that the Annual Report and Accounts taken as a whole, are fair, balanced and understandable and provide the information necessary for shareholders to assess the Group's position and performance, business and strategy.

 

 

Enquiries to:

Ibstock plc

 

Nick Giles, Group Company Secretary

01530 257438

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Ibstock Plc

Ibstock plc is a leading UK manufacturer of clay bricks and a diversified range of clay and concrete products. Its principal products are clay bricks, brick components, concrete roof tiles, concrete substitutes for stone masonry, concrete fencing and pre  stressed concrete products.

 The Group's two divisions are:

Ibstock Clay: The leading manufacturer by volume of clay bricks sold in the United Kingdom. With 16 manufacturing sites Ibstock Brick has the largest brick production capacity in the United Kingdom. It operates a network of 18 active quarries located close to its manufacturing plants. Ibstock Kevington provides masonry and pre-fabricated component building solutions, operating from 6 sites across the United Kingdom.

 

Ibstock Concrete: A leading manufacturer of concrete roofing, walling, flooring and fencing products, along with lintels and general concrete building products, with 14 manufacturing plants in the United Kingdom.

 

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