Seemingly immune to the financial ravages of the pandemic, Gilbert-Ash grew turnover by 8% in 2020 to £176.2m (2019: £163m), while pre-tax profit surged to £10.9m, up from £5.6m in 2019.
The company paid out an exceptional dividend of £9m as a result.
Ray Hutchinson, owner and managing director, said: “In what was an incredibly challenging year for all, we are proud to have continued to maintain both healthy turnover and profit-levels and to be in a position to support the people who work for us. Coupled with a healthy pipeline, this puts us on a strong track for the future.
“We have made great progress in implementing our five-year strategy, the effects of which are now becoming visible. Gilbert-Ash’s ‘As One’ ethos ensures a culture of respect and togetherness, which underpins our relationships with our colleagues and clients through to our supply chain network and wider public.”
Highlights of the year included opening a new £5m headquarters at Boucher Place in Belfast in June 2020.
Projects completed in the year include: a £24m project for the Royal College of Music in London; a £26m Premier Inn hotel in Shoreditch, London; the £18m St Edward’s school quad development in Oxford; the £42m Canterbury Christ Church University Building in Kent; and a £12m project for Central Foundation Boys School in London.
Ray Hutchinson said: “The highly demanding situation with the coronavirus did not deter us from pushing forward with our client projects while prioritising the health and safety of our team and supply chain partners. I am very proud of our entire team – we really showed our mettle and resilience this last year as well as strength of our relationships with clients.”
Further growth is expected across all sectors. In recent months, the company has started work on four substantial projects in London: a £35.5m refurbishment of the National Portrait Gallery, a £16m commercial redevelopment of the Kodak building in Holborn, a £22m office refurbishment at 7-10 Old Park Lane and a £36m project to create a 181-room Hub by Premier Inn hotel in Islington.
Outside of London, the company is working on the re-development of a former hat factory in Manchester into the 145-bedroom Moxy Hotel for KE Hotels.
It has also started on a new 500-bedroom student hotel in Glasgow. The £50 million design and build of The Student Hotel (TSH) is part of a masterplan in the Merchant City area.
The improvement of Gilbert-Ash's financial results in 2020 contrasted with its 2019 numbers, which were down on 2018. [See previous report here.]