Stock crash sends £120m down the drain at Victorian Plumbing after firm warns of an uncertain outlook in the months ahead and shares sink 41%
Shares in Victorian Plumbing clocked up their worst-ever day after the company warned of an uncertain outlook in the months ahead.
The stock crashed 41 per cent, or 63.5p, to an all-time low of 91.5p – wiping £120million off the value of the stake held by boss Mark Radcliffe and his family.
The Liverpool-based firm said customers have spent less on big-ticket homeware items since the end of lockdown.
Washout: Victorian Plumbing’s stock crashed 41%, or 63.5p, to an all-time low of 91.5p – wiping £120m off the value of the stake held by boss Mark Radcliffe (pictured) and his family
That has dented demand for the sinks, toilets and baths sold through its website. As a result, the group warned earnings in the year ahead were likely to be worse than those in 2021.
The sell-off means the company has lost 65 per cent of its value since listing on the stock market in June with shares priced at 262p each.
That has seen the value of the company tumble from £850million to £297million. The latest share price rout knocked £120million off the shares owned by the Radcliffe family behind the company.
Victorian Plumbing was set up by chief executive Radcliffe in his parent’s shed in Southport, Merseyside, just over 20 years ago.
The 42-year-old father of three and self-proclaimed workaholic scooped £212million during the float by offloading a sizeable portion of his then 72 per cent stake in the firm.
Before Victorian Plumbing, Radcliffe became the UK’s first eBay millionaire at the age of 30 after he set up First2save, a mobile phone accessories business, from the same shed.
He wanted to make money so he could buy an expensive car by the time he was 25 – though he missed this goal and bought a Ferrari when he was 26.
He remains Victorian Plumbing’s biggest shareholder with a holding of just under 46 per cent.
Radcliffe’s younger brother Neil, 40, owns 9 per cent and serves as the company’s product director.
Their parents, Carole and George, own another 3.3 per cent, meaning Victorian Plumbing remains mostly a family affair with the Radcliffe’s retaining a 58 per cent stake.
The family as a whole raked in a total of £267million after offloading nearly 102m shares in the firm at listing.
Sales slump: Victoria Plumbing said the end of lockdowns dented demand for the sinks, toilets and baths sold through its website
However, the tumbling value of the stock since its debut has wiped over £320million off their paper fortune.
The firm said it has ‘not been exempt’ from the disruption afflicting global supply chains.
However, the popularity of its products made it confident it would be able to absorb most of the pressures arising from the crisis.
The assessment overshadowed results for the year to the end of September which saw revenues jump 29 per cent to £269million.
Profits were down 17 per cent at £19.7million.
Hailing a ‘milestone year’ for the firm that saw it list on the stock market, Radcliffe said: ‘Although the short-term outlook is difficult to predict as the world normalises from the events of the last two years, it is inevitable that consumer buying behaviour will continue to move online.’
Victorian Plumbing, like other online retailers, was a big winner during the pandemic as consumers spent more money on renovations while stuck at home.
But with High Street stores having reopened and travel restrictions easing, money is increasingly being diverted towards holidays, nights out and purchases in brick-and-mortar stores.