CountPlus’ subsidiary and associate firms received over $3 million in JobKeeper in FY21, a significant increase from the firm’s forecasts in the previous year.
According to the firm’s full-year results listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), the FY21 payments followed $2.3 million already received in the previous year.
In its FY21 results, CountPlus said: “JobKeeper payments were received by subsidiary firms to the amount of $2.144 million, while associate firms received $1.26 million. Corporate office received $0.245 million. JobKeeper payments received by these entities achieved the purpose of supporting the small businesses that CountPlus has invested in and keeping people employed where their jobs may otherwise have been at risk”.
The total combination of JobKeeper, COVID-19 cash boost and payroll tax rebates for the first half of the year was $2.3 million for subsidiaries and $390,000 for associates, but CountPlus did not disclose the figure for the full-year, only JobKeeper.
These figures were significantly higher than had been forecast by the firm in FY20 when it said it expected FY21 figures would be lower due to the reduced number of eligible firms.
In its FY20 results, the firm said: “In FY20 some member firms qualified for government assistance in the form of JobKeeper, COVID-19 cash boost and payroll tax rebates, totalling $2.315 million ($1.549 million for subsidiaries and $0.766 million for associates).
“In FY21 a reduced number of firms may continue to be eligible for further government assistance at an estimated amount of $0.267 million (nil for associates).”
Given the scheme ended on 28 March, 2021, CountPlus said it was now managing the downside risk presented by COVID-19 via a tight management of costs, a focus on working capital management and targeted deployment of capital and resources.
In its full-year results, adjusted net profit after tax (NPAT) for CountPlus was down 3% from $7.6 million to $7.44 million while revenue from operating activities was also down 3% from $82.6 million to $80.5 million.
A spokesperson for the firm said it would not be repaying the money.
However, the spokesperson confirmed the 1.50 cent per share fully franked dividend was based on profit excluding government assistance.
“The JobKeeper payments of $2.144 million were received by the underlying firms in which CountPlus has an equity interest. These firms are small businesses serving small business clients. The recipient firms have been disrupted by the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and these payments enabled these individual firms to retain employees at a time when jobs may have been otherwise at risk,” they said.
CountPlus’ figures followed ClearView which claimed $2.5 million in FY20 and a further $2.4 million in FY21.
Appearing in Parliament in August 2021, chief executive, Simon Swanson, said ClearView had decided not to repay the payment as its NPAT had declined from $22.1 million to $17.5 million during 2020.