Chief executive Andy Radcliffe credited a “meticulously designed business model” for softening the impact of industry headwinds on 2022’s operating profit.
He said that longer-term contracts, priced pre-pandemic and vulnerable to cost inflation, were completed in the first half of 2023, leaving the business with a reduced risk profile moving forward.
“Our focus on targeting routes to market and key sectors that present a lower risk has provided a finely balanced portfolio of revenue which has served to insulate us from the extremes of the challenges experienced by the broader industry,” said Radcliffe.
“Targeting sectors that present near-term growth opportunities, such as affordable housing, utilities and general infrastructure, while simultaneously reducing our exposure to more technically and commercially challenging sectors of the market, provides us with a level of resilience and expectations for both turnover growth and margin expansion over the coming years,” he added.
Esh Group’s forward order book across its civil engineering, affordable housing, commercial build, and private house building division has swelled to a record £600m.
This includes flagship schemes such as the landmark restoration of the Tyne Bridge, and the Stockton Waterfront regeneration scheme.
After adding the largest contract in the company’s history to its affordable housing portfolio earlier this year, a £56m new build scheme in Middlesbrough, Esh is set to build more than 540 affordable homes with Thirteen Group in the coming years.
Radcliffe added that clear management of cash saw the group delivering liquidity of £19m at the end of 2022, with nothing drawn on its £7m revolving credit line, remaining debt-free.