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Smart struggles with margins

4 Nov 11 Despite difficulties with margins, Edinburgh-based J Smart & Co. (Contractors) is still managing to make a profit.

The company has reported a 19% fall in group revenue for the year to 31 July 2011 and an 84% fall in group profit.

Revenue for the year was £17.0m, down from £21.0m the previous year. Pre-tax profit was £656,000, down from £4.0m

However, underlying group profit, excluding an unrealised deficit in revalued property, increased 31%.

Chairman JM Smart said that if the impact of revalued property on the figures is disregarded, underlying profit before tax is shown as £6.0m (including £1.9m from property sales) which compares with the corresponding figure for underlying profit of £4.6m with no property sales the previous year.

Mr Smart said that turnover in contracting was again lower, but a profit was achieved again.  Sales in precast concrete manufacture fell again and a loss was incurred.

Describing the general outlook as “uncertain”, Mr Smart added: “The slow but steady progress in private house sales experienced in the second half of the year under review has now halted.  While we have an adequate amount of contracting work in hand at present, margins will be difficult to achieve. The uncertainties generated by the recession make it impossible to forecast the outcome for the current financial year with any degree of accuracy. However, it is likely that underlying profit will be less than last year.”

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