Billington banks on steelwork margin recovery in 2013

Aaron Morby 12 years ago

Structural steelwork contractor Billington returned a trading profit in the first six months of the year after implementing a round of cost cutting measures.

After one-off redundancy and restructuring costs, this resulted in a pre-tax loss of £200,000, improved from £555,000 the year before.

Steve Fareham, chief executive, said that the steelwork market remained challenging, although there were tentative signs of margin recovery.

He predicted that margins on contracts would be slender throughout the remainder of the year, with a further small element of recovery in 2013.

“The board feels that the actions taken this year and last, in response to the strategic review that the group carried out, have resulted in a more efficient business that is well placed to build on the strong position we hold in the structural steel market.

“While we continue to monitor our cost base carefully, we have achieved a pleasing improvement in underlying profitability’

He added: “Our focus now turns to restoring the group to post-tax profitability by gaining market share and seeking additional, alternative markets that offer our group growth potential.

Billington turnover dropped 11% to £20m after dropping to single shift working and targeting added value work rather than volume production.

Across the Billington group the tubular steelwork arm picked up several high profile technically challenging projects during the period.

The Hoard-it site hoardings division, based in Wombwell, also saw a rapid expansion in demand after a slow start to the year.

The percentage of products hired to major contractors has increased, necessitating a revision to its business model that anticipated the product would be primarily sale.

But Billington’s Easi-edge safety barrier business came under pressure as contractors sought to cut costs and in some cases standards, warned the firm.

Fareham added that Peter Marshall Steel Stairs had re-established itself as a major player in the UK steel staircase market and order intakes through recent weeks had been encouraging.

He added: “We are mid way through a full review of how we market and promote all of the group’s activities.

“We anticipate that by the end of 2012 we will be in a better position to offer our various customers a wider range of products and services.”

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