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Top 10 UK concrete contractors | results and analysis

19 Apr 12 Revenue among the UK's 10 biggest concrete frame contractors is, collectively, holding pretty steady, despite the tough economic backdrop.

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
1 2 Careys 165.6 174.9 7.8 0.8 4.7 0.5 31/03/11
2 4 Byrne Bros 115.6 124.6 3.2 8.0 2.8 6.4 31/05/11
3 6 J Reddington 106.0 88.9 1.6 2.8 1.5 3.1 31/12/10
4 3 Masterson 91.2 67.1 6.3 5.1 6.9 7.6 31/08/11
5 1 CJ O'Shea 80.5 91.9 9.0 7.5 11.2 8.2 31/03/10
6 8 AJ Morrisroe 57.0 45.4 1.4 3.2 2.5 7.0 31/10/10
7 7 PC Harrington 52.6 63.6 1.5 3.4 2.9 5.3 31/05/11
8 9 MPB 34.9 27.1 0.7 0.5 2.0 1.8 30/06/11
9 5 Dunne Group 29.5 29.4 1.7 -0.1 5.8 -0.3 31/10/11
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.

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