Forrest shows housing repairs are profitable

Aaron Morby 13 years ago
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Social housing maintenance contractor Forrest has boasted underlying profit and turnover growth despite fears that the sector is beset by below-cost bidding.

The firm, which is backed by private equity group LDC, said demand for the installation of carbon reduction technologies, such as solar panels, energy efficient boilers and smart-metering, had been particularly strong.

Although operating predominantly in the North West of England, Forrest said its expansion into West Yorkshire had been another driver of growth.

The firm raised its workforce by around 10% to 500 in the last six months, including 50 apprentices.

Forrest aims to raise investment  in the region over the coming year as it seeks to become a partner of choice across the North of England.

Firms like Connaught and Rok have raised doubts about the sustainability of the housing maintenance sector, which has been vulnerable to cut-throat bidding for the prize of big term contracts.

But Forrest lifted underlying profits by nearly 10% to £6m on sales 11% up in the year to August 2010 at £52.3m.

Robert Morgan, chairman of Forrest, said “Despite challenging market conditions and several high profile business failures in the sector last year, Forrest has continued to demonstrate its ability to deliver sustained, profitable growth in its key markets.

“This has been achieved by a clear commitment to customer service, a focus on providing essential, integrated support services for social housing groups, and strong business and financial management.

“The group’s cash generation also remains ahead of budget, placing it in a strong position to continue investing for forward growth.”

Forrest, previously called Herbert T Forrest, was established in 1955 as a small joinery and manufacturing firm in Preston.

Today, it manages 47 formal partnering contracts and refurbishes or maintains over 20,000 homes per annum throughout the north of England.

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