Severfield warns steelwork tender margins tightening

Aaron Morby 2 years ago
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Britain’s biggest constructional steelwork contractor has warned that tender margins are tightening at its UK business.

Orders up as Republic of Ireland and Europe help offset weakening UK demand
Orders up as Republic of Ireland and Europe help offset weakening UK demand

The firm said that softer market conditions had created some spare fabrication capacity, although the firm said it had begun to see stirrings of more bidding activity in the London commercial market.

Reporting an 11% rise in pre-tax profit to £25m, Alan Dunsmore, chief executive officer, said that the impact of these UK market conditions was being eased by the re-emergence of the market in the Republic of Ireland and opportunities in continental Europe, where the firm has a fledgling Dutch business.

He added that Severfield was also pursuing infrastructure work opportunities for HS2 and the expansion of Heathrow airport.

“We also see good opportunities from the government’s ongoing Network Rail and Highways England investment programmes,” he added.

Revenue in the year to April was broadly flat year-on-year at £275m, mainly as a result of the softer UK market conditions and some project delays, to both contracts within the order book and in the conversion of our pipeline of opportunities.

This predominantly impacted volumes in 2019.

Dunsmore said that growth in operating margin to 8.5% (2018: 8.3%) reflected better risk and contract management processes at the firm.

The order book of £295m was up £65m on the half-year and contained a high proportion of lower risk, regional projects with shorter lead times.

It includes a £50m order for the new Google Headquarters, which will require over 15,000 tonnes of structural steelwork for the 11 storey head office building at Kings Cross.

Dunsmore added: “We remain on track to deliver on our strategic targets, including the doubling of underlying profit before tax to £26m by 2020 and we look forward to another positive year ahead.”

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