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Franchise Brands tops expectations in 2020

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Franchise Brands PLC (LON:FRAN) has said it expects revenue and earnings for 2020 to be ahead of current market expectations.

The company pointed out that it had seen a strong recovery in the second half of the year in most parts of its business as many of its customers returned to something close to normal trading patterns.

Franchise Brands said that although 2021 starts with a higher level of lockdown restrictions than those in place for most of the second half of 2020, the company is now well versed in mitigating the impact on its business.

The group’s business-to-business (B2B) operation, which comprises Metro Rod, Metro Plumb, and Willow Pumps, specialises in services that have mostly been designated as essential by the government and thus continued to operate throughout the lockdowns.

The business-to-consumer (B2C) division, which includes the car-scratch removal franchise ChipsAway and the oven cleaning franchise OvenClean, quickly returned to pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels of trading following the end of the spring lockdown period.

The group finished the year with £13.2mln in cash, up from £2.9mln at the end of 2019, after it raised funds in April.

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Franchise Brands also has £7mln of unused debt facilities, putting it in a strong position to support its franchisees, invest in the business, support its dividend policy and take advantage of acquisition opportunities.

“Although we start 2021 with further restrictions that will impact our business, we are now well practised at how to mitigate the impact of these by protecting our people, controlling costs and continuing to serve our customers where it is safe to do so. These restrictions are temporary, and we are focussed on preparing the business to take advantage of the recovery when they are lifted. Therefore, we continue to progress all our development projects to allow us to recover quickly and realise the considerable potential of the business,” said Stephen Hemsley, the executive chairman in the trading update.

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