Laing O’Rourke’s accounts for the year to 31st March 2018 have been overdue since 30th September. It said today that it would be unable to file them before Christmas at the earliest.
Chief executive Ray O'Rourke blamed the delay on difficulties sorting out the company's refinancing. “Our industry has witnessed the demise of a number of companies and the withdrawal of significant funding this year. This has put enormous pressure on parties across the sector, and slowed down all regulatory, financial and administrative processes,” he said.
Laing O’Rourke completed the refinance of its Australian businesses in mid-2018 and now has an outline agreement with its primary banking partners for UK refinancing.
However, when it came to filing accounts in time, he said that the company had been “defeated by process”.
Laing O’Rourke has not displayed a profit for several years. It reported a pre-tax loss of £81m in the year to 31st March 2017, a loss of £267m in fiscal 2016 and a loss of £59m in fiscal 2015, although that is not to say that the ultimate parent company in the British Virgin Islands or the O'Rourke family themselves are necessarily losing money. Total shareholders’ funds in O’Rourke Investments Holdings (UK) Ltd, for example, grew by nearly £7m in fiscal 2017.
Ray O’Rourke said that the UK businesses were now “all performing to plan and delivering forecast margins”. In the UK at least, 100% of FY19 revenue and 70% of FY20 revenue was already under contract. Cost reduction measures introduced three years ago continue, and are exceeding targets, he said.
And with its turnaround “now complete”, the company is “committed to returning to top-quartile payment performance for all of our supply chain”, he said.
Laing O’Rourke Construction Limited has published an average time to pay invoices of 53 days. This comprises: 24% paid within 30 days; 35% paid within 31-60 days; and 41% paid after 61 days.
“We will focus on improving payments to our supply chain during the next financial year,” Mr O’Rourke said.