For Tobermore Concrete Products 2008-9 interrupted a period of several years of continued expansion.
In the preceding six years employment had more than doubled and turnover more than trebled. More recently, employment and turnover have fallen.
The firm manufactures a range of products in concrete and natural stone which are sold in Northern Ireland, the Republic and Great Britain. The product range includes paving blocks, kerbing, walling, natural stone and street furniture.
Given the location of the business in Tobermore, an interesting aspect of the response of the firm to the downturn in the construction sector has been the emphasis in marketing activity on attracting visitors to the Paving Centre and internet visitors through a company website. In 2008-9, the number of visitors to the centre rose from 22,000 a year earlier to over 28,000.
Late in 2007, a related company, Tobermore Concrete Products (Ireland) ceased trading and its funds were transferred to this company. The related company had made purchases of over £2.7m from this company in 2007-8 and there were no further sales in 2008-9.
In the most recent year turnover decreased by 24% on the previous year. However, it remained higher than the levels of the first six years of this decade. The business continued to earn operating profits of £4.1m which exceeded 12% of the value of turnover.
The business retains all post-tax profits and, as in previous years, no dividend was paid to the shareholders.
By retaining post-tax profits, the balance sheet value of shareholders funds increased by £2.7m.
The balance sheet value of shareholders funds has increased six fold since 2002 and, in April 2009, was stated as £39m.