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Strix describes challenging year, appoints new finance chief

(Sharecast News) - Kettle safety and water technology company Strix Group said in a full-year trading update on Thursday that, despite facing persistent challenges stemming from the global economic and geopolitical landscape, it recorded adjusted profit after tax of £20.6m on a constant currency basis, and £20.1m on a reported basis for the full year. The AIM-traded firm said that in its key export-regulated markets, demand for kettle controls remained subdued, although there had been a gradual quarter-on-quarter recovery throughout 2023, which was expected to persist.

However, the volume remained 20% lower compared to 2021, and the recovery had been slower than anticipated.

On a more positive note, Strix's unregulated markets and the Chinese market, constituting around 20% of Strix's kettle controls' gross profit, were showing signs of growth.

Billi, following its successful integration, had exhibited double-digit revenue and profit growth on a constant currency basis, in line with its strong track record over the last five years.

Similarly, Laica delivered robust performance, achieving double-digit revenue and profit growth on a constant currency basis.

During the second half, Strix reported strong cash generation, resulting in a year-end net debt of £83.7m.

The firm confirmed that its net debt-to-EBITDA ratio was 2.15x, with a debt service coverage ratio of 1.15x, both of which were within its covenants.

Strix said it was now focused on achieving future profitable growth, and was planning an internal reorganisation programme to optimise resources, enhance cash generation, and support debt reduction.

The company said it aimed to reduce net debt-to-EBITDA to below 1.5x by the end of 2025.

In addition to the trading update, Strix announced the appointment of Clare Foster as its new chief financial officer.

With more than 25 years of experience in international businesses, including her recent role as group CFO at Trifast, the board said Foster would bring valuable expertise to Strix's leadership team.

She would officially assume her role on 2 April, following a transition period.

Mark Kirkland, the interim CFO, would continue in his role until that date, and would remain a non-executive director on the Strix board.

Strix said it would release its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December on 27 March.

At 1516 GMT, shares in Strix Group were down 5.01% at 70.2p.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

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