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Good year for Findel Education

publication date: Jun 1, 2008
author/source: Ed Tranham

Findel’s educational supplies division had a strong year with sales from ongoing businesses increasing by 5% to £174.7m and operating profit up 15% to £26.7m. But the company’s home shopping business continues to depress Findel’s share price, down 63% since the start of the year.

Within the educational supplies business, the company has reported that the introduction of three-year financial budgets for schools – designed to give schools year-on-year financial stability – has impacted on the company’s trading patterns. In particular, the traditional final quarter rush in the spring term as schools seek to spend unspent monies has not materialised, leading to some margin erosion resulting from the need for increased marketing activity. However, on the plus side, sales in the first six weeks of the new financial year are up 5% on the same period in 2007.

Across the education sector, Findel saw growth of 6% in its core primary school business reflecting an increase in government funding. Sales to primary schools now account for over 30% of the division’s sales. Export sales have grown by 8%, an increase which Findel puts down to a more focused approach to countries with high economic growth.

During the last 12 months Findel lost £3.9m through the disposal of four businesses including Percussion Plus and the US business Didax – the latter was acquired as recently as April 2007 together with Philip and Tracey.

Findel’s strategy in the education sector is to focus on developing its own products which reflect changes in the National Curriculum and the needs of teachers, the intention being to squeeze out more margin. In the BSF arena, Findel has a separate project division to bid for BSF projects.

The company has also invested £4m in a new CRM and warehouse management system which went live in January 2008. The implementation led to a one-off warehouse restructuring cost of £2m.

Overall, education delivered 27.5% of Findel’s total revenues of £634m.


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