Filta Group said it has received initial interest to a Covid-19 sanitising service it recently launched – and believes demand will increase as restaurants make plans to reopen.
FiltaShield is a bacterial cleansing service that can eliminate any traces of Covid-19 bacteria and provide protection for 30 days.
Referring to the new service in its annual results, which were published yesterday, CEO Jason Sayers said: “The service was launched in mid-April and we have received initial interest from a wide range of businesses.
“Whilst early in the service lifecycle, we believe that this addition not only has a place in our service portfolio today but will continue to be required whilst there is any threat from Covid-19.”
Filta Group developed the service within a matter of weeks of the lockdown, and is now helping organisations make the necessary preparations to get back up and running as quickly as possible.
Mr Sayers said it is being offered as a direct service to its existing customers in the UK, as well as to any other businesses that have to ensure safety for their staff and customers. In North America it is being provided through Filta Group’s franchise network.
“We would potentially look to do the same in Europe. There has been strong interest but we do not anticipate any significant revenue to flow from this until the places of principal social gathering are permitted to reopen,” he explained.
Filta Group has created a business platform comprising a mix of franchised and company-owned operations offering services to the commercial kitchen sector.
Fryer management, which is a maintenance service delivering repeat revenues, has been the core of its franchised activities for several years and in the UK it has developed a number of company-owned activities, including refrigeration seal replacement, fat, oil and grease control and collection, drain maintenance and pump installation.
Revenues increased 75% to £24.9m last year, including £8.6m from Watbio, the FOG management business it acquired 18 months ago.
An increase in operating costs caused pre-tax profits to fall from £1.8m to £900,000 year-on-year, however excluding non-cash charges the figure rose 7% to £2.6m.
The company said that prior to the lockdown it enjoyed a strong start to the year and, based on the continuous and positive discussions it has had with franchisees and key customers during the last two months, remains confident that revenues and margins will return to regular levels when social distancing restrictions are lifted and more normal trading conditions are resumed.
Mr Sayers added: Our fortunes are substantially dependent on many of the businesses that have been most affected by the coronavirus pandemic: restaurants, bars, hotels, sporting venues, colleges, and other places for social gathering.
“It has therefore been inevitable that we would see a significant fall in activity and revenues, which has generally been the case throughout our operations. However, we have worked hard to support our franchisees and to formulate exit plans with our major customers during the lockdown period, such that we are witnessing a strong determination to resurrect and rebuild businesses as soon as regulatory and health conditions permit. We are encouraged by the fact that during the first quarter of the year we had been seeing strong trading across the group.”