During 2019, turnover at the family owned construction and engineering group increased by nearly 13% to £880.2m (2018: £779.5m). This was driven by an overall rise in activity across the business, including its Canadian joint venture.
J Murphy & Sons Ltd made a profit before tax of £7.0m in 2019, bouncing back after 2018’s £12.9m pre-tax loss, underpinned by strong performances in Ireland and Canada.
Contract wins during 2019 included a £400m contract to deliver tunnelling and shaft work for National Grid over the next four years in joint venture with Hochtief and a £235m makeover for Oxford Street in joint venture with Carey, on behalf of Westminster City Council.
2019 saw Murphy continue to generate positive cashflow, ending the year with a cash balance of £71.1m (2018: £63.3m) and net assets of £211.2m (2018: £204.4m). In June 2019, it renewed its £30m credit facility with Lloyds Bank for a further three years.
The order book, worth £1.5bn in July 2019, currently stands at around £1bn.
Chief executive John Murphy said: “I’m pleased we made strong progress in 2019, improving our performance to deliver overall growth in the business. Across all three geographies, we saw significant improvement in our project performance and proactively took additional provision in the UK to close out some challenging projects. Our asset-backed business model, self-delivery capability, with a focus on developing beneficial, long-term relationships with our clients, is key to our success. We are well positioned to deliver against our long-term growth plan thanks to our measured and prudent approach to doing business."
He continued: “While the first half of 2020 has presented the whole sector with some significant challenges, our response clearly demonstrated the resilience of our business model. Through the Covid-19 lockdown, I am grateful to our teams who have showed significant ingenuity to continue delivering safely, backed by the support of our clients. It’s now important that governments make investment in infrastructure a priority, to help create jobs and rebuild our economies. We welcome the commitment made by the UK government so far, given the essential contribution the construction sector makes to keep our communities thriving. Continued and sustainable investment is even more crucial now as we recover from the challenges of the pandemic.”