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Record year for Robertson

10 Dec 15 Robertson Group is targeting further expansion as it approaches its 50th anniversary, having just racked up its biggest ever year.

Bill Robertson, founder and executive chairman of Robertson Group
Bill Robertson, founder and executive chairman of Robertson Group

The Scottish company turned over £298m in the year ending 31st March 2015, an increase of 14% on the previous year, and made a profit before tax of £11.77m.

Construction turnover also reached a new high, up 12% to £217.6m, and with three new business units established south of the broader in England, the company has capacity to expand this to £350m, executive chairman Bill Robertson said.

Other highlights for the year include a 15% increase in employee numbers to more than 1,700 and the establishment of new civil engineering and building services units published. The year also saw Robertson Homes increase its sales by 78%, Robertson FM grow turnover to £38m and Robertson Timber Engineering increase sales by 55%.

Bill Robertson, who founded the business in 1966, said the results were the culmination of a five-year plan.

“I believe our regional business model has been a strength in recent times, where each autonomous business can react to their own local markets in good times or bad, and is under no pressure to grow unless good value can be gained from their workload," he said.

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He continued: "Robertson was a major player in the provision of infrastructure throughout the PFI years. Following the demise of this procurement method, our business spent the last five years growing, developing and managing its way through a changing marketplace using the skills acquired in the previous 15 years of the PFI period."

He said that the English market offered “a major opportunity” for Robertson to expand its regional business model. With this in mind, as part of the five-year plan, Robertson has created two distinctive, autonomous construction groups covering Scotland and England. The four construction businesses in Scotland and the three in England are now each capable of delivering £50m in turnover per year, he said.

He also sees the prospect of making construction more profitable. "Over 60% of Robertson Group revenue is generated from construction operations, where margins have historically been low,” he said. “With fewer players in the market, more frameworks and opportunities to work with clients and their advisers up front, which avoids wasted tendered periods. There is a real opportunity to raise margin levels to more sustainable levels."

Mr Robertson concluded: "On the eve of our 50th anniversary, and as we prepare for our next five-year plan, we are looking forward to a period of opportunity and sustainability across the sectors where we operate. Each of our businesses is focused on profitability and value, not volume. Our growth will come from growing our businesses, enhancing value, lowering costs and expanding our successful regional business model into targeted geographical areas. This is an exciting new phase for Robertson and our sector."

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