Stepnell putting pandemic and problem contracts behind it

Grant Prior 3 years ago

Stepnell is looking forward to a strong year after posting net profits in its latest results despite the impact of Covid.

The contractor, which operates across central and southern England, has already secured 85% of its planned workload for the current financial year following a series of project wins.

Results for the year to March 31 2021 show a net profit of £1m from a turnover of £104m.

Stepnell  continued work on sites throughout lockdown which stood it in good stead to weather the impact of the pandemic.

Joint managing director Tom Wakeford said: “Stepnell was one of a handful of contractors to continue on site throughout lockdown and the commitment of our employees and our supply chain relationships was fundamental – we were able to source materials and subcontractor support across our projects.

“Our results reflect our decision to work with our clients through the pandemic which was a great achievement.

“Stepnell has secured orders which will enable it to deliver sales in excess of £100m during 2021/22, in line with our current business plan. The company has started the current financial year with an excellent level of secured work – circa 85% of the planned workload for the year – which we are really pleased with.”

Stepnell was forced to restate its 2019 accounts by £30m earlier this year after it “grossly underestimated” forecast losses on problem contracts.

Wakeford said the contract issues were “virtually over” and the firm was close to settling with clients.

Going forward he said it was vital for clients to have open conversations with contractors.

He said: “Jobs are taking longer to get to the site start stage and materials price rises also add to risks.

“We need to have open conversations with clients at an early stage about who bears those risks.

“We pride ourselves on our ability to be involved early in projects, to provide an end-to-end service where we can understand our clients’ objectives, offer enhanced solutions and work with them to achieve the best outcome.

“All of our regional teams have been working incredibly hard to secure new project wins and ensure that we emerge from this pandemic as best as we can. Stepnell has a more diversified range of projects than ever before, with the group also having the benefit of a property portfolio of more than £40m.

“With our stable business model and continuing our selective approach to tendering for construction projects – to which its skill base is best suited and where terms and conditions do not impose unacceptable levels of construction risk – we are confident of our position to withstand market risks and continue our upward trajectory.”

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