Social housing contractor keeps growing
Forrest, the privately-owned social housing support services company, has reported continued revenue and profits growth in its latest full year trading announcement.
The Preston-based company, which provides refurbishment and maintenance services to social housing groups and public sector organisations, said organic growth from new and existing customer relationships had increased sales 11.5% to £52.3m during the 12 months to 31 August 2010. This compares with £46.8m the previous year and £45.3m in the year before that.
Underlying operating profit (EBITDA) rose 9.5% to £6m (2009: £5.5m; 2008: £4.7m) in line with revenue growth, while operating cash generation for the year exceeded reported EBITDA at £6.9m.
The company said that market estimates for social housing spend in the northwest remained strong, with the vast majority of the group’s clients now outside of local authority control.
Current forward order book is the strongest in the company’s 55 year history. It said demand for the installation of carbon reduction technologies, such as solar panels, energy efficient boilers and smart metering, had been particularly strong, as more social landlords seek to cut energy costs.
Although operating mainly in the northwest of England, Forrest said that its expansion into West Yorkshire had also added to growth.
Chief executive officer Lee McCarren said: “Our continued focus on delivering the best quality of service and fully integrated support services for our partners is helping to generate both loyalty from existing clients and significant new orders. Combined with our geographic expansion and investment in our teams, service lines, infrastructure and expertise, we see significant opportunity to continue growing our share of the market.”
Forrest chairman Robert Morgan said: “Despite challenging market conditions and several high profile business failures in the sector last year, Forrest has continued to demonstrate its ability to deliver sustained, profitable growth in its key markets. This has been achieved by a clear commitment to customer service, a focus on providing essential, integrated support services for social housing groups, and strong business and financial management."
He added: “The group’s cash generation also remains ahead of budget, placing it in a strong position to continue investing for forward growth.”
Forrest (previously Herbert T Forrest) was established in 1955 as a small joinery and manufacturing firm in Preston. Today, it manages 47 formal partnering contracts and refurbishes or maintains over 20,000 homes per annum throughout the north of England.
The group, which is backed by private equity firm LDC, increased its workforce 10% to more than 500 in the last six months, including 50 apprentices. It also strengthened its senior management team last year with the appointments of David Banton as commercial director and Mark Lyons as operational managing director.
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This article was published on 24 Jan 2011 (last updated on 24 Jan 2011).