Robertson plots further English expansion after record year

Aaron Morby 6 years ago

Elgin-based private construction firm Robertson Group is looking to further expand its business into England after turnover rose 14% to a record £298m this year.

Executive chairman Bill Robertson said the firm was now on an expansion footing with aims to invest in both housing and construction taking turnover to £500m in the next three years.

He said: “Our construction business has been very successful within all of the regions they operate and with the addition of a new regional business covering Yorkshire and East Midlands our geographic coverage continues to expand.

“We now have seven regional construction businesses, four in Scotland and three in England, where we see considerable scope for further growth.”

These regional operations were augmented by the recent creation of higher margin building services, civil engineering and specialist service businesses.

The firm, which employs over 1,700 people in 18 businesses, bounced back with a strong operating profit of £11.5m in the year to March 2015 after a trading loss of £8m in 2014.

In the latest company results Robertson said the recession and subsequent funding crisis prompted the group to sell some of its sizeable property assets at the end of 2013 to realise a £44m profit in 2014 and turn the group around.

He added: “With a strengthened balance sheet and associated funding strategy, the business is in a strong position to support future growth and new investment.

“We have now firmly established ourselves as a significant niche infrastructure provider who can deliver major projects in excess of £35m.”

Robertson said: “We have also moved the business to a place where we are covering a greater geography and will continue this strategy of geographical expansion.

“In addition the broader skill set we have created is giving us the opportunity to be more selective on the value of projects we procure.  Our “major projects” team now has the capability to undertake significant projects throughout the UK.”

He said now all key trading companies are growing strongly on the back of the recovery.

Turnover at its construction arm rose 12% to £217.6m. Robertson Homes sales roared ahead 78%, while Robertson Timber Engineering also saw sales rise by half on growing demand from housing.

Robertson said the group’s order book was stronger than it had ever been at £1.7bn.

“On the eve of our 50th anniversary and as we prepare for our next five-year plan we are looking forward to a period of opportunity and sustainability across the sectors where we operate. This is an exciting new phase for Robertson and our sector,” he said.

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