Eric Wright lifts profits despite £2.4m construction loss

Aaron Morby 5 years ago

Lancashire-based Eric Wright Group raised profits by nearly 40% to £10m despite construction slipping into the red for the third year running.

Jeremy Hartley, managing director at Eric Wright Group says investment will continue to be targeted at property
Jeremy Hartley, managing director at Eric Wright Group says investment will continue to be targeted at property

Overall turnover edged up 7% to £170m last year principally driven by Applethwaite Homes, its residential division and Eric Wright Civil Engineering.

Jeremy Hartley, managing director at Eric Wright Group, said the construction sector continued to be challenging in 2018.

This saw a slight reduction in revenue to £75m the previous year, with an underperforming contract materially hitting the division’s financial performance.

This project suffered design-related issues and two supply chain members entering administration contributing to significant cost over-runs.

Despite a £2.4m construction loss, the client base expanded and existing relationships, including with Muse Developments and Manchester Life, continued to strengthen.

The rest of the group was buoyed up by stronger profits at property, residential and civil engineering.

Hartley said: “We have made excellent progress in meeting many of the targets we set out to achieve during 2018, which has allowed the group to deliver another strong set of financial results in sectors which, particularly in the case of construction, continue to present challenges.

“The group is looking to continue to consolidate its underlying financial stability as focus shifts into 2020 with realistic growth targets across all our businesses activities.

“The wider outlook has some fundamental uncertainties, but the business is well placed to mitigate the impact of these through careful management of risk and focus on core principles.”

Property investment activities performed particularly well, with several new lettings, positive rent reviews, and a revaluation gain of £3.7m.

Residential development division Applethwaite turned over £13.5m in the year, up from £8.1m previously as home sales rose from 25 to 60 last year.

Turnover in the civil engineering part of the business rose from £14m in 2017 to £22m, as contract sizes grew and it enjoyed stronger key local authority relationships.

Eric Wright Water’s focus on securing positions across a wider range of frameworks saw successes in Severn Trent, Yorkshire and United Utilities areas.

This maintained stability and growth potential entering 2019 despite the ongoing changes in spending cycles.

Maple Grove Developments continued to make good progress on a varied pipeline of projects including a forward funded student scheme in York, an industrial scheme at Deeside and a significant town centre regeneration scheme in Burnley.


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