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Company Snapshot: Northstone Ltd

By John Simpson

Northstone, formerly known as Farrans, is one of Northern Ireland’s largest building and civil engineering contractors. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of CRH (Cement Roadstone Holdings), registered in Dublin.

The trading results for 2008 reflect the affects of the recession on the construction sector and this firm in particular. It was a year described as putting increasing pressure on prices and profit margins. The outlook for 2009 is described as one of declining construction and housing activity and is expected to further affect results this year.

The company sets out some detail on its core corporate social responsibility principles and this is backed up by an outline of its environmental policies, its commitment to social and community issues as well as the continuing health and safety policies.

The company report emphasises the underpinning economic yardstick to make a profit in order ‘to continue to operate, employ people and to create attractive and healthy environments in which people can live and work’.

Turnover in 2008 was 9% lower than in 2007. That was then reflected in lower operating and pre-tax profits: down by 19% and 18% respectively.

Capital spending on the company’s own assets was lower than in earlier years and average employment fell by 6%. The balance sheet value of shareholders funds fell by 2%. This was after a period of four successive years when the value has increased.

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