Wage subsidy scheme gives Hills a lifeline as loss beats expectations

Wage subsidy scheme gives Hills a lifeline as loss beats expectations

Revenue down 11.5 per cent due to COVID-19 pandemic

David Lenz (Hills Limited)

David Lenz (Hills Limited)

Credit: Hills Limited

Hills has managed to shave A$800,000 off its predicted 2020 loss mostly due to the Australian Government’s COVID-19 wage subsidisation scheme.

The distributor and health technology vendor credited the JobKeeper scheme, alongside wage cuts, for helping offset a potential A$7 million loss, instead closing 2020 with a A$6.2 million loss instead. 

Publicly-listed Hills had earlier flagged its business would be hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, closing the year ended 30 June with an 11.5 per cent revenue dip of 11.5 per cent to A$33.7 million.

The distribution side of the business took a big hit, falling 18 per cent to A$186 million. However, the company reduced its previous A$3.2 million loss to a A$1.3 million profit after streamlining the business unit.

Hills Limited spent almost In the last financial year, the unit’s restructure cost Hills A$14.7 million, whereby it divested from its “non–core” AV, Antenna and STEP businesses.

The company said that the distribution unit was now being run in a tighter manner, using an inventory management system that “contributed to smarter buying decisions”.

Meanwhile, in Hills’ health business, its signature product, its Nurse Call (NC) solution, saw a dip in demand during the second half of the year.

“Like all companies, Hills was forced to adapt quickly to the extraordinary challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” CEO and MD David Lenz said.

“Throughout this period, however, we have remained absolutely focused on our strategic priorities – investing in our Health business, streamlining our Distribution business and strengthening our balance sheet.”

Going forward, Hills said it now had a pipeline worth A$175 million in  tenders and orders over three years.

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