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Thu October 21 2021

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Slim pickings for Triton’s new owners

14 Oct Employee-owned contractor Triton Construction just managed to stay in profit last year but is ready to rebound strongly, according to its founder.

Triton MD Paul Clarkson, third from left, with some of the company's new owners
Triton MD Paul Clarkson, third from left, with some of the company's new owners

Turnover for the year ending 31st March 2021 at Triton Construction was down 15% at £27.7m (2020: £32.4m). It made a profit before tax of just £37,596 (2020: £1.3m.)

By comparison, two years earlier, the Yorkshire-based company had made £2.6m before tax on nearly £56m turnover.

On 30th September 2020 the company was 100% acquired by an employee ownership trust (EOT). Under this arrangement the former shareholders’ loan notes have first call on the profits. Until the shareholders’ loan notes are paid off, just 5% of annual profits are set aside to be distributed as employee bonuses.

Five percent of the latest £38k after-tax profit, shared among the 50+ employee-owners means that the new owners might expect something less than £40 each in dividends for the year.

But with a solid order book, Triton is now looking to stating growing again, to get the former shareholders paid off, and start generating more attractive pay-outs for the staff.

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After all, the year to 31st March 2021 was an unusually difficult on, as chairman Mike Parkinson, who founded the business in 2005, said in his report for the latest accounts.

“This year has without doubt presented the greatest challenges to the  industry in living memory,” he wrote. “Triton have not been immune from these challenges but have responded well, with quick and decisive strategies. The first half of the year was particularly difficult, resulting in substantial reductions in workload through contract cancellations and suspensions. The board responded quickly to these challenges and from the outset we addressed  the immediate requirements whilst maintaining focus on the longer-term potential of the business. The priorities were to reduce the financial impact of the pandemic and the protection of jobs and business structure.

“The difficulties experienced in the first half of the year were gradually balanced with the second half recovery, which resulted in a small profit for the year. Cash management has always remained a key focus and no borrowing or use of overdraft facilities were required. Indeed, our cash levels remained particularly strong throughout.

“During the last quarter, the business has experienced significant success and has secured an excellent high-quality order book, which will see our 2021/22 year bounce back to turnover and profit predictions matching those of two years ago.”

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