Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Fisher Engineering Ltd: Firm engineers possible recovery

Fisher Engineering, based in Enniskillen, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Severfield-Rowan plc.

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

The company has chosen to report for a 15-month trading period instead of the usual annual figures. The trading results to March 2013 reflect a much more difficult trading environment.

Results in 2011 showed a large recovery from those in the previous year. More recently, turnover and profitability have been seriously reduced. Turnover in 2011, at £59.9m, was some £7m lower than the peak figure in 2008. Turnover in 2012-13, on an annual basis, was down by 20%.

Operating profits in 2012-13 fell sharply. Alongside the impact of the recession in the construction sector, the company reports that operating profit was impacted significantly by two contracts which 'did not perform in accordance with expectations'.

The company says that it has a satisfactory order book and the directors view the outlook for the company with confidence. "The company will continue to deliver strong performance in the future by capitalising on its inherent strengths and long standing client relationships," it said.

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

In 2009, the company made only a small dividend payment of £0.5m. In 2010, dividends of £7.5m were allocated and in 2011 this was followed by £2m. No dividends were declared in the more recent trading period.

Average employment has remained stable at 286 people. In 2011, employment averaged 281 people. The directors say that retention of key staff is critical to the company and that the company has invested increasingly in training and development.

The balance sheet value of shareholders' funds in March 2013 fell to £25.4m. This was £4.3m lower than in December 2011.