Billington, one of the UK's leading structural steel specialists, has had a difficult couple of years but is now reaping the benefits of a restructuring.
The directors say that the business “has made a very positive start to the year” and is now trading ahead of market expectations.
In a trading statement, the board said that the balance sheet was robust and the order book is healthy.
The restructuring, to scale back the business for reduced market conditions, has cut £2.8m a year from overheads.
“The benefit of this action is now being realised,” the board said.
In addition, the trading performance has also improved. Margins in the core structural steel business have improved from their historically low levels, helped by competitors such as Rowecord going out of business.
Billington’s diversification moves into new sectors, including rail and energy, has helped trading performance and opened new areas of opportunity for the business. There has also been geographic diversification, with the company picking up its first tenders in Northern Europe.
“While market conditions remain challenging, the board is confident that the combination of restructuring action taken by the group and genuine, if tentative, signs of sustainable market improvement should ensure that Billington is well placed to deliver sustainable growth throughout 2013 and beyond,” the company’s statement said.