Ards Holdings is the parent company for the well established construction company, Gilbert Ash, and the financial results are heavily influenced by the trading performance of that subsidiary.
Ards Holdings registered in 2008 a better performance than many of its competitors. The active workload in the construction sector fell sharply in that year but Ards Holdings managed to sustain turnover with only a small fall of 3% compared to 2007.
Even more significantly, the company recorded improved operating and pre-tax profits. Operating profits rose by over 50%. Pre-tax profits rose by nearly 20%.
Pre-tax profits are higher than operating profits because the company has significant financial reserves, the interest from which was nearly £1.4m. However, this was below net interest earnings of nearly £1.9m a year earlier.
The company comments that there was a strong performance on some current contracts which, when coupled with the final results of some older contracts, led to an increase in profitability. Anticipating the more difficult trading conditions which have continued into 2009, the company expects a further reduction in turnover but, more optimistically, says that it hopes that trading margins will be maintained.
Possibly on the strength of improved profits, the company paid two interim dividends to shareholder during 2008. A charge of £2.8m reflected this.