Michael England says operation efficiencies helped boost sales

Ullman Sails South Africa has reported a significant increase in turnover for the past calendar year following a decline over the previous two years.

Ullman chief executive Michael England, also chief executive of Ullman Sails International, told IBI the Cape Town-based production loft achieved turnover of R103m (US$7m) for the calendar year September 2018 to October 2019, up from R85m (US$5.8m) for the same period a year ago.

England said the reversal of fortune was testimony to new operational efficiencies implemented since Ullman Sails International took over its South African licensee manufacturer in September last year. “For our first full calendar year of trading, our numbers are fantastic. The company was in a fairly negative spiral before we took over,” England said, adding that the result was achieved despite difficult local economic conditions. “We rationalised, cut expenses, and our margins improved. Sales profit is higher. We had a really good year in trying conditions,” he said. “It is good to know that we can produce these kinds of numbers and get this turnover going in this environment. It means the sky is the limit to be honest.”

The company had also managed to pay off the vast majority of a R20m (US$1.37m) debt it inherited last year, which had declined to R17m (US$1.16m).

England said the company had also managed to avoid retrenchments and was now focused on trying to rebuild staff morale. “One of the promises I made when I took over here is that we are not reducing staff; we have kept that promise. In fact we are looking for staff,” he said.

“It has been a good year applying proper business principles and fiscal discipline – a fairly good story to tell,” England said.

The Ullman group services the entire globe from South Africa comprises 75 independently owned companies in 30 countries worldwide. It was founded in 1967 in California.