Billington says worst is over as 2013 set for marginal growth

Aaron Morby 10 years ago

Constructional steelwork contractor Billington has called the bottom of the market and predicted 2013 will see marginal improvement in trading.

The steelwork firm has strengthened its business development and management team after a year of cost-cutting and single shift working at its fabrication facilities.

The stock market listed steelwork firm returned another pre-tax loss for 2012. But, excluding redundancy costs, this trading loss was improved to just £100,000 compared to £1.6m in the red the year before.

Selective tendering and single shift working saw turnover slump nearly a third to £38m.

Billington said it had started the year with an improved order book across a portfolio of work.

“There was a growing sense of order and stability in structural steel markets towards the end of 2012, helped by further small reductions in capacity as smaller players consolidated or failed,” said Steve Fareham, chief executive.

“Although we expect conditions to remain challenging throughout 2013, we do foresee marginal improvement.

“Having invested accordingly to take advantage of opportunities in non-traditional, growth sectors, and with our financial strength intact, we look to the future with cautious optimism.”

The firm is now targeting rail, energy from waste and complex structural steel projects. It also said its tie-up to bid for larger steelwork packages with Bourne Group remained robust with several major opportunities for a first major order.

“The strategic review, which was concluded in 2012 resulted in a decision to revert to a single shift working pattern that helped to deliver annualised cost savings of £3m,” said Fareham.

“This decision, along with other operational efficiency improvements and being selective about work undertaken, enhanced margins and helped deliver an improved performance for the group.

He said results at the Peter Marshall Stairs subsidiary were disappointing.  A new managing director joined at the start of the year and was in the process of carrying out a full review of the company’s operations and processes to return the division to profit.

Fareham said there had also been management changes at its easi-edge safety barrier division which was now seeing a gradual increase in demand for barriers.

The hoard-it division continued to make steady progress over the year with a new commercial director who joined the business at the start of the year.

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