The firm said it cut staff at its Bristol operation last year and moved to single shift working to deliver operational cost savings of £2.8m.
Despite tough trading, the steelwork contractor increased market share and improved performance at its easi-edge and hoard-it safety solutions operations, which helped to lift turnover 27% to £54m.
Steve Fareham, chief executive, said: “2011 has been a tough year for the group, and the sector as a whole.
“The combination of an increase in steel prices and a highly competitive market led to downward pressure on margins.”
Fareham said Billington had reacted to the tough trading environment and ensured that it remained competitive with a cost base that matched market conditions.
He added the firm had continued to drive innovation in the safety solutions business and exploit market opportunities with the acquisition of Peter Marshall Stairs.
He said: “Billington has maintained a positive cash balance throughout the downturn, adapted its businesses appropriately and grown market share.”
“The board expects a slight improvement in trading conditions during the course of this year and is confident that the action that has been taken has left us in a position of relative strength ahead of the expected medium-term recovery.”
Core business Billington Structures started 2012 with a strong portfolio of work including data centres, warehousing, SLAM projects and a raft of new supermarkets.