A historic Midland carpet-maker has returned to the black in its first full year after a bitter takeover which split the family of its founder.
Victoria Carpets in Kidderminster saw posted a pre-tax profit of £2.3 million, up from a loss of £3.3 million for the same period a year earlier.
Chairman Geoff Wilding, who was part of a group which seized boardroom power in 2012, said it was the result of a “relentless” day-to-day focus on costs at the Royal carpet-maker.
There was a marginal increase in sales as the company was boosted by an improving marketplace in the UK, with the housing market back on the rise.
The company has also benefited from the £16 million takeover of rival Westex Carpets.
Mr Wilding said: “2014 marked a significant improvement in Victoria’s financial position. Much of the underlying improvement has come from our relentless day-to-day focus on costs, margins and sales growth.
“We were very pleased to acquire Westex, arguably the UK’s premium tufted carpet manufacturer.
“We are encouraged by the outlook for our business, with the UK residential property market showing signs of increased consumer confidence.
"The Australian market is also showing signs of economic improvement, which will, in time, translate into consumer confidence and increased demand for carpet."
Victoria underwent its biggest change in a generation on October 12 last year when the entire board was replaced at an extraordinary meeting, forced by a consortium headed by Alexander Anton – the great-grandson of founder George Anton.
The 119-year old firm was the subject of a protracted battle which split the Anton family, with cousin Rupert a strong voice against the consortium.
However, the business has been strengthened by a £16 million deal for Yorkshire rival Globesign earlier this year, which owns the Westex brand.
Across the year revenues at Victoria, which made the red carpet for the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011, rose slightly, from £70.9 million to £71.4 million.
The company said much of the underlying improvement has come from a focus on costs, margins and sales growth – the success of which it attributed to the “efforts and focus” of its staff.
It also praised the performance of Globesign’s Westex Carpets, which generated profits of £4.5 million although the contribution to Victoria’s pre-tax profit was £1.2 million, reflecting the fact it owned the business for just three months of the financial year.
A special dividend of 2.92p per share was paid to shareholders in July so no annual dividend has been recommended for the full year.
But the board said it wanted to “send a clear signal” to stakeholders of its commitment to paying dividends as part of its plan to “create wealth for shareholders”.
A dividend payment is expected to resume next year.