Consumer goods firm Ultimate Products will repay all the money that it has claimed through the government’s job retention furlough scheme after outperforming expectations despite the coronavirus pandemic.
City A.M. can reveal that the London-listed firm is set to give back the £465,237 it was given to keep staff on over the lockdown period, and will not claim any government funds through the job retention bonus initiative.
Around 100 of the Oldham-based company’s staff were put on furlough as a result of the pandemic, but Ultimate Products said it would make no further claims under the scheme.
Over the last couple of months, the firm has twice upgraded expectations for its full year performance. In July, it said it was now on track for revenue of £111m, with before tax profit forecast at over £7.4m.
In a recent note, analysts at Shore Capital said the trading updates showed that sales had been “more robust than expected”, driven by a strong performance with online retailers such as Amazon.
Ultimate is “well positioned to exit the current crisis with a robust balance sheet and ready to take advantage of evolving market opportunities”, they added.
The firm, which listed in 2017, is expected to provide a further trading update on 7 September.
Impressive sales of cooking, cleaning and latterly cooling products such as Beldray fans and coolers also helped it beat previous forecasts.
The firm’s chief executive and founder Simon Showman said that repaying the money was the “right and proper thing to do”.
“The furlough scheme allowed us to work through the significant challenges that COVID-19 initially caused for our business”, he said.
“We are grateful to the government and the taxpayer for providing us with this support. As a result of the outstanding resilience, hard work and professionalism of our people, the outlook for our business is now much clearer.
“Returning this money to the taxpayer is therefore the right and proper thing for us to do.”
Alongside managing director Andrew Gossage, Showman waived his salary during the lockdown period to enable the firm to donate medical supplies and household items to various parties.
Ultimate designs and develops products for a number of well-known brands, and also holds licensing agreements for Russell Hobbs and Salter cookware.