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Highland recruitment giant Orion Group hit by Covid pandemic

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Inverness-headquartered recruitment expert Orion Group recorded a loss before tax in its latest accounts.

The international firm, which provides personnel for a range of sectors including energy and manufacturing, also experienced a drop in turnover in the year ended December 31, 2020.

A strategic report accompanying the firm’s figures stated: “During 2020 the global economy has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The group responded quickly by implementing a number of initiatives which included the use of remote working and other available technologies to protect the health, safety and welfare of its employees and ensure continuity of service to its clients.

“In the oil and gas sector, the pandemic has also had a knock-on effect on global oil prices due to the significant reduction in demand that it caused. These factors contributed to reduced contractor activity and further downward pressures on contractor rates and margins during the year.

“In response to this, a number of cost reduction measures have been implemented across the group including the closure of loss-making divisions.”

It went on: “The global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic remains significant. Therefore, the group is continuing to employ the use of remote working and other technologies to protect the health, safety and welfare of its employees and ensure continuity of service to its clients.

“While the group acknowledges that the Covid-19 pandemic has created a number of fundamental uncertainties in the wider economy, our solid equity base and low level of gearing provides us with the financial strength to deal with any potential adverse financial impact on our activities.”

Turnover dropped from £276,347,000 in 2019 to £231,860,000 in 2020. For the same period, a pre-tax profit of £3,920,000 moved to a loss of £921,000.

The firm is confident it can meet the needs of all its clients and continues to monitor opportunities overseas.

The report added: “The oil and gas market is a key sector for the group but there are other business streams which are also significant contributors.”

The average number of employees dipped from 221 in 2019 to 211 in 2020, while staff costs decreased from £11,436,000 to £10,992,000.

A directors report alongside the figures stated: “The group will continue to develop business management systems with an emphasis on safety systems. The directors will also selectively invest in people and facilities to ensure that the group remains a sustainable and world-class recruitment business.”

The firm, filing as Orion Engineering Services, also outlined its measures taken to improve energy efficiency which include reduction of international and domestic travel, plus its actions planned for the 2021 financial year such as analysing fuel usage.

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