Inspired Energy plc (LON:INSE) said its board has been encouraged by the performance of the business, which remains cash generative, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown period as it posted its full-year 2019 results.

The consultant for energy procurement, utility cost optimisation and legislative compliance in the UK and Ireland believes it is well-positioned to respond effectively as activity levels continue to recover.

WATCH: Inspired Energy has remained profitable and cash generative during lockdown

The company said its corporate order book, which rose 9% to £57.5mln during 2019, had further increased to £60.1mln by the end of April.

The group said it was largely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic until very late in March and the business delivered a strong performance in the first quarter, with trading in line with the board’s expectations at the time and ahead of the same period last year.

Revenues in 2019 hit a record level of £39.3mln, up 51% from 2018’s £32.7mln.

Profit before tax jumped 13% to £4.75mln from £4.20mln while adjusted profit before tax, which strips out one-off items, climbed 29% to £14.72mln from £11.38mln the previous year. Adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) surged 37% to £18.83mln from £13.75mln in 2018.

In view of the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the board has decided not to recommend a final dividend in respect of 2019.

“At times of significant trading pressures, companies like Inspired Energy tend to be part of the solution for corporate energy consumers looking to regain their competitiveness and restart their economic engines and as such demand for our service often increases at times of crisis. This was the experience of the energy advisory sector during the financial crisis of 2008,” Mark Dickinson, the chief executive officer of Inspired Energy said in the results statement.

Inspired Energy had cash and cash equivalents at the end of April of £11.7mln plus around £14mln of its revolving credit facility available to it and another £25mln if the company takes up the “accordion option” on the facility.

“The additional flexibility provided by the extension of our banking covenants ensures that the group does not have to undertake any permanent restructuring actions which could prejudice the effective implementation of our strategic growth plan as envisaged prior to the COVID-19 crisis and which we expect to resume unfettered, save for delay, once conditions allow,” Dickinson said.

In a separate statement, Inspired Energy, also announced that its entire board had today purchased shares in the group.

Among the purchasers, Mark Dickinson, the group’s chief executive officer acquired 580,000 shares at 16.9p each, to take his holding to 1,269,655, or 0.18% of the issued share capital, while Paul Connor, its chief financial officer, acquired 440,000 shares also at 16.9p each, his first share purchases, for a stake of 0.06%.

–Adds share purchase update–