Two-thirds of UK manufacturers saw order books halved in March due to COVID-19, reveals survey

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5th May 2020 12:39 - Industrial

Two-thirds of UK manufacturers saw order books halved in March due to COVID-19: A survey of UK manufacturers (with fewer than 250 staff) found that 68% saw their order books reduce by half in March, due to coronavirus. 

The industry survey by Market Finance polled 860 UK manufacturing firms with up to 249 employees and found that while two-thirds saw their order book reduce by half, a similar number (67%) were left in a financially precarious position, with less than £50,000 left in the bank and fears that without additional support their reserves would be exhausted by the end of April.

The research also found that more than half of the businesses polled (51%) were looking to seek financial support through the Government's Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). A third of those polled (33%) said they needed to take out an average loan of £62,500 - which, says MarketFinance, is equivalent to £417 million for the sector. Just over one in 10 (11%) were interested in borrowing £17,500, while around one in 20 (4%) were looking for a loan of £10,000. Just 3% said they needed to access a CBILS loan of around £300,000. 

When asked about their preferred means of borrowing, the top answer given by respondents was a  larger overdraft facility, followed by business credit card, and then invoice finance. 

“With March revenues halved and near term prospects looking uncertain, most manufacturers (64%) have revised down their order books for 2020 by 40-50%. They are seeking short term solutions to remedy finance concerns." said Market Finance. 

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