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Company Snapshot: Fisher Engineering Ltd.

Firm's structure remains solid

By John Simpson

Enniskillen-based Fisher Engineering was taken-over by Severfield-Rowan plc in October 2007.

The immediate parent company, as part of the larger group, is now Action Merchants Ltd. The company specialises in constructional steelwork extending to design, fabrication and the erection of structural steelwork.

The trading results in 2011 show a large recovery from those in the previous year. In the period from 2008 to 2010, turnover fell sharply and this was reflected in a major reduction in operating and pre-tax profits. Turnover in 2011, at £59.9m, was still some £7m lower than the peak figure in 2008.

Trading conditions in 2011 were described, in common with other businesses in the construction sector, as difficult. The order book for work in 2012 is described by the company as satisfactory and the directors report that they view the outlook with confidence.

In an assessment of prospects as a going concern, the directors report on a range of factors which they have considered including the continuing challenging economic environment, its impact on margins and counterparty risks, the impact of any of their key suppliers being unable to meet their obligations to Fisher Engineering and the reassurance of a £50m revolving credit facility available to the larger group.

Fisher Engineering has only a small reliance on borrowed funds so that its operating profits and pre-tax profits are similar and show the same year to year changes.

Operating profits in 2008, at £16m, were the highest of recent years. In keeping with the reduced overall turnover, operating profits in 2009 and 2010 fell sharply. In 2011, operating profits increased by 26% to just over £6m.

In 2009, the company made only a small dividend payment of £0.5m to the new shareholder. In 2010, dividends of £7.5m were allocated and in 2011 this was followed by an allocation of £2m.

Most of the remaining post-tax profits were retained in the profit and loss account and the total value, at 31 December 2011, of shareholders' funds rose to £29.7m. Average employment has remained close to its highest level, at 285, in 2009. In 2011, employment averaged 281 people.

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