The largest employer in Blairgowrie, Castle Water, did not take any Government loans as it navigated the Covid-19 crisis.
The firm has grown massively in the seven years since founder and chief executive John Reynolds started out with just two staff.
It now has nearly 460 employees, most of them in Perthshire.
Castle Water provides water and wastewater services to around 350,000 companies, charities and public bodies.
The venture is also continuing to seek ways to grow market share ion both sides of the border – both organically and through acquisitions.
The firm is believed to be the major water supplier to the NHS in England.
Impact of Covid ‘unprecedented’
The directors gave a coronavirus update along with financial results just posted at Companies House.
They say Covid-19 and its associated lockdown measures had prevented many of its customers from operating normally, resulting in a reduction in both revenue and costs.
The directors add: “The group navigated through this period well, where it saw not only a sharp decline in volumes in a very short space of time, but also significant operational challenges to deal with regulatory requirements and the operational implications of the lockdowns followed by easing as each wave of Covid-19 took hold.
“This has been an unprecedented event and beyond any typical recessionary period the group would expect.
“Through all of this, the group remained in a sufficiently-strong financial position to remain current on all its banking-facility payments.
“It also elected not to join a scheme that enabled water retailers to defer payment of their wholesale costs.
“It did not need to apply for any of the Government loans made available to businesses.”
Major contract wins
Operationally, the directors say that the group responded rapidly by ensuring reductions in water charges for customers required to close.
It said it protected employees by adopting work from home and ensuring continuity of service to customers.
The firm reduced its operating costs to match the reduction in levels of non-household water consumption.
Castle Water’s latest financial results for the year to March 2020 show revenues fell to £414.71 million from £430.11m previously. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £14.43m from £15.87m.
But the group achieved year-on-year increases in its bank balances and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation).
This was despite suffering a 3.6% drop in revenues due to a combination of customer “churn” and the pandemic, which began to impact the ability of its customers to trade normally in the final quarter of the financial year.
Further customer gains were also achieved, notably of public-sector customers through the Crown Commercial Service network in England.
It was awarded contracts worth more than £6m to supply public-sector bodies including the NHS, schools and emergency services.
Firm to make profits this year
Meanwhile, Castle Water announced more expansion last April. It acquired Affinity for Business, a licensed non-household water retailer for £67m. The business is now known as Castle Water (Southern) and employs 90 people.
Chief executive Mr Reynolds expects turnover to return to pre-Covid levels this June or July as the lockdown eases.
He also anticipates that Castle Water will achieve pre-tax profits in the year to March 2022.