Blairgowrie-based Castle Water has plans for significant growth after an “intense and hard” year.
The firm provides water and wastewater services to companies, charities and public bodies in Scotland and England.
With its customers going in and out of offices, the utilities company has been kept busy.
Chief executive John Reynolds says the past year has been hard work.
“We’ve had an increase in the amount of work we had to do.
“Because our customers were moving in and out of their premises, due to the lockdowns, that meant we had to produce twice the amount of invoices and reports than we normally would do.
“It’s been intense and hardworking, but not problematic.”
Significant growth and investment plans
In recently filed accounts, the firm reported revenue of £359.9 million for the year ending March 31 2021.
This is a drop of almost £55m, from £414.7m the year before.
The past year has seen Castle Water invest in a self-service platform for customers, making it easier to manage their accounts online.
Going forward, more investment will be put into their online service.
Mr Reynolds says: “We’ve got some significant growth plans and significant investment plans.
“A major part of that is around our further integration of automated self-service activity for customers.
“We’ve been continuously hiring more staff since we started the company and I can’t see that stopping.
“We’re going to keep growing.”
The firm has made five acquisitions over the past five years, and continues to review opportunities for further growth.
While most employees are still working from home, Mr Reynolds says the firm is looking at increasing office space to accommodate more people.
Helping customers with bills
Throughout the pandemic, Castle Water has worked to help its customers save money on their bills.
Mr Reynolds says: “We found a way to reduce customers’ fixed charges at the start of the lockdown, which made life easier for them.
“It resulted in a lot of work for us, but it means that we were able to save customers about £6m total in charges, which is significant.
“A lot of customers have said we’re the only utility supplier that’s actually been helping them.
“We take a long-term view of customer relationships and wanted to do as much as possible to be helpful and it helps us if it helps our customers.”
Castle Water in ‘very strong position’
Despite a drop in revenue, the firm has seen a rise in profit before tax to £3.9m, up from a loss of £14.4m in 2020.
The company has 460 employees, the majority of which are based in Blairgowrie.
Mr Reynolds says the results are due to the hard work of Castle Water staff.
“It’s been intense hard work for everybody, but it’s been commercially successful.
“Most water suppliers lose money, but we’ve made a modest profit over the past year.
“We’re in a very strong position and I think we stand out in a sector where a lot of companies have performed very badly.
“That’s a tribute to all the staff at Castle Water.”