Most of the big concrete frame contractors appear to have weathered the economic storm surprisingly well, based on their most recent financial results.
There are a couple of exceptions though.
At Laing O'Rourke's Expanded Structures, revenue shrank to less than one fifth of 2010 levels (£14.4m) – putting it outside the 10 largest companies in the sector.
Meanwhile, John Doyle Construction's turnover fell 39% to £28.5m, and its pre-tax loss of £3.2m made it the only firm in the top 10 to dip into the red. The directors described the performance as “exceptionally disappointing”.
|Rank by turnover||Rank by profit||Company||Latest turnover (£m)||Previous turnover (£m)||Latest pre-tax profit (£m)||Previous pre-tax profit (£m)||Latest margin (%)||Previous margin (%)||Latest reporting period|
|10||10||John Doyle Construction||28.5||46.9||-3.2||0.5||-11.2||1.1||31/12/10|
Careys tops the table, though the business includes general contracting and house-building among its activities, besides the concrete frame business. Turnover fell 5% to £165.6m.
The Wembley-based business enjoyed a big jump in profit, to £7.8m from just £0.8m in the previous year. The contractor has concentrated on reducing debt, cutting it by £12.3m to £28.3m at year end, and by a further 19.1m since, to a current level of 9.2m. Careys' directors said they remained “confident” given the “diversity of client base”.
Byrne Bros also experienced a small dip in turnover, from £124.6m to £115.6m. The Shard builder saw profit fall 60% to £3.2m.
The directors said that “innovation has been the core strategic response to the current era of austerity”, citing a 70% pre-assembled solution at Heathrow Terminal 2B as an example.
Byrne Bros said secured turnover for year to May 2012 is healthy, “albeit at tight margins”.
J Reddington enjoyed a £17.1m jump in turnover to £106m, though this was at the expense of profit, which fell from £2.8m to £1.6m.
Chairman John Reddington attributed a “resilient performance” to “the employment, motivation and retention of widely experienced staff”.
He added the firm has “maintained diversity in its client base throughout the last three years, [and] ensured that we are not over exposed to any of our primary market sectors”.
Masterson also grew revenue – by 36% – to £91.2m. Profit climbed £1.2m to £6.3m.
The directors – all Masterson family members – considered the results “satisfactory in these uncertain economic times” though noted that “pricing was even more competitive”.
At CJ O'Shea, revenue dipped to £80.9m but the firm's pre-tax profit of £9m was the best in the sector. It is top of the table on margin (8.2%).
AJ Morrisroe grew its turnover a quarter, though its profit dived £1.8m to £1.4m.
PC Harrington had another rough year, with turnover dropping 17% to £52.6m, and profit slumping 56% to £1.5m. The firm said it had “continued to reduced costs in line with reduced volumes of work, and unfortunately had to make further redundancies”.
MPB's grew turnover 29% to £34.9m, with margin up fractionally to 2%.
Scottish-based Dunne Group held steady in turnover, thanks to southern expansion, and made a welcome return to profit.
The struggles of John Doyle are partially offset by an order book of £55m for 2011.