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Birmingham civils contractor strengthens board

30 Sep 21 Specialist civil engineering contractor Fitzgerald Contractors has promoted two of its senior management team to the board as trading returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Alan Harris, who has been with the company for nine, becomes pre-construction director at Fitzgerald Contractors; Paul Lycett, with the company for 12 years, is now surveying director.

Managing director Nick Coley, who bought the company from Bouygues in 2013, said: “These appointments will provide us with a wider breadth of opinion and experience at board level and demonstrates our commitment to the ongoing development of all our employees. Alan and Paul have played a crucial role in the growth of the business over many years, and I’m delighted they are joining the board, at what is an exciting time, as we see investment in our sector continuing to increase.”

After the Covid-19 pandemic first arrived and the UK put into lockdown, Fitzgerald had all employees except the managing director on furlough for April and May 2020. Consequently. turnover in the year to 31st March 2021 reduced by 25% to £17.1m (2020: £23.5m) and pre-tax profit was down a third to £700,000 (2020: £1.1m).

Profits were hit by the £350,000 cost of closing the business temporarily and then resuming under new Covid-safe operating protocols.

Dividends paid out at the end of the year were reduced to £260,000, compared to £1.4m the previous year.

“Our strong balance sheet and good level of cash reserves with no borrowings, ensured we were able to weather this short-term contraction of business and to retain key staff and our skilled workforce,” Nick Coley said. “This has ensured the business is well placed to take advantage of the upturn in activity in the civil engineering sector. We are confident that trading will recover to pre pandemic levels in 2021/22 with 90% of our budgeted turnover already secured. With a significant pipeline of future works we are confident our forward strategy of steady controlled growth can be delivered.”

Fitzgerald was formed in 1948. In 1993 it was bought by the Thomas Vale Group and operated as an independent business within that group. In 2012 Thomas Vale was acquired by Bouygues. Bouygues then sold Fitzgerald, a £24m company at that time, to Nick Coley.

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