Wilsons auction group posts 30 per cent jump in pre-tax profit

Wilsons Auctions' workforce fell to 250 people in the year to March 2022, well down on the 378 people it had on the books in 2019.

THE Mallusk-based auction group Wilsons has reported a 30 per cent rise in pre-tax profit in a year where it continued to reduce its workforce.

Reporting a return to normal trading conditions after taking a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, the company’s turnover bounced back by 19.4 per cent to £32.9 million for the 12 months ending March 31 2022.

And while that was down on the £36.4m it posted in the 12 months prior to the declaration of the Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, the latest trading period for the auction group proved much more profitable.

Pre-tax profits rose 30 per cent year-on-year to £7.2m, more than five times its 2020 performance.

But, the group’s workforce continued to fall in the year to March 2022, declining by 47 to 250, well down on the 378 people the group had on the books during 2019.

Founded in 1936, Wilsons Auction Group is the largest independently owned auction house in Ireland and the UK.

Its customers include governments and law enforcement agencies, with the Co Antrim company responsible for auctioning off high value assets seized during criminal investigations.

Earlier this year, the group auctioned off a 120ft yacht used to smuggle £160m worth of cocaine from South America to the UK. The ‘Kahu’ sold for £479,500.

The total value of goods auctioned in the year to March 2022 reached £463m, a significant jump on the £337.5m that went under the hammer in 2021.

The group now has ten auction sites, with the latest acquisition in Oxford coming in August 2021.

Also maintains five storage and distribution facilities.

The latest accounts posted by the group showed the bottom line profit after tax (£5.65m) was supplemented by a revaluation of the group’s property, that added another £5.7m to the auction group’s income.

After additional tax and currency exchanges, it left a total comprehensive income of £10.5m for the year.