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Sun July 03 2022

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Strong rebound for Van Elle

31 Jan Specialist ground engineering contractor Van Elle has rebounded strongly from the pandemic despite numerous supply chain headwinds.

Interim results from Van Elle Holdings for the six months ended 31 October 2021 show solid growth in both revenue and profit – not just over the same period in 2020 but also over pre-pandemic 2019.

Revenue for the six months ended 31st October 2021 reached £60.1m,  up 57% on the same period in 2020 (£38.3m) and 24% up on the same period in 2019 (£48.5m).

Pre-tax profit this time was £1.9m, compared to a pre-tax loss of £700,000 in the six months to October 2020 and a £900,000 profit in pre-pandemic 2019.

The group's order book at 31st December 2021 stood at £39.1m, up from £34.5m just two months earlier.

Chief executive Mark Cutler said: “The recovery in the national construction and house-building markets during the first half of the year delivered strong order levels and significantly increased contract activity in the period. As expected, the recovery in Rail volumes continues to lag the other divisions. However, the Rail business has seen an improvement in enquiry levels and contract activity towards the end of the period, which has continued into the third quarter.

“Managing the headwinds caused as a result of the widely reported supply chain challenges in the construction sector continues to prove difficult, particularly with regard to the pricing and availability of cement, concrete, and steel. The impact is greatest in the General Piling division, where higher volumes of raw materials are typically required on contracts. Price increases have been reflected in tendering activity to recover the significant input cost inflation we are exposed to, although with some customer pricing mechanisms, there is a lag in recovery. The impact from a lack of availability of raw materials continues to be mitigated at an operational level as far as possible."

He continued: “Labour availability and wage inflation are also presenting some challenges across the construction sector, with high demand for skilled employees, including the significant numbers of operational staff needed to meet the requirements of HS2. We are also experiencing some disruption from short-term employee unavailability, where our people have been required to self-isolate due to Covid-19 infection. Despite these challenges, all divisions returned to profitability in the period."

The Van Elle board now anticipates that trading for the full year will be ahead of previous market expectations.

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