Stormy weather boosts calls at Norwich-based Evander Glazing and Locks

Rick Francis, chief executive of Evander Glazing and Locks. Picture: Submitted

Rick Francis, chief executive of Evander Glazing and Locks. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

A stormy winter has put wind in the sails of a Norwich business which fixes damaged homes in the wake of bad weather and burglaries.

Evander Glazing and Locks, based at Broadland Business Park, said it has seen a spike in calls similar to the winter of 2014, which saw 12 major storms batter homes and businesses across the UK.

It comes as the EDP Top100 firm's latest accounts posted on Companies House show a calmer winter last year led to a drop in turnover, down 18pc to £39m for the year ending March 31, in a year which also saw a major restructure.

But chief executive Rick Francis said the firm could see a seasonal variation of about 10 to 15pc, and expected turnover to rise by 5pc this year.

'Last year turnover saw a very big drop because in 2014 we had ended up with storm after storm, said Mr Francis. 'We went from a winter with seven storm events to just one.'

He said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were 'comfortably positive', and appeared to be growing to the end of March.

He added: 'Cash-wise we are in a good position: it looks as if we will have modest growth this year.'

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Evander specialises in glazing, locks, doors and windows for commercial and residential customers, with two thirds of its business coming through insurance companies.

Clients include RSA Insurance Group, More Than and Aviva, while its £9m of commercial business comes from high-street retailers including Morrisons.

The firm also specialises in repair and maintenance of glass in larger buildings, including the Royal Opera House in London.

However its reduced turnover was partly due to a change in the way people buy insurance - opting for lower premiums and higher excess rates - which saw a reduction in the number of claims, according to the firm's accounts.

A bid to meet the challenge saw a major restructure which was completed in January last year, and which contributed to a loss before tax of £701,000, according to Mr Francis.

He said staff training meant two teams were running at the same time for an extended period.

'We had to make everybody redundant and reemploy them because their jobs so significantly changed,' said Mr Francis.

Staff numbers in the year to the end of March reduced from 619 to 556.

Further diversification came with the launch of the firm's online arm Evander Direct, a traditional home improvement business selling direct to consumers. It specialises in garage doors and saw a 41pc increase in sales in the second half of 2015 compared to the first six months, according to Mr Francis.

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