Belfast Telegraph

Cash is still flowing into Lagan Construction Group as firm announces profits

Group reveals profits despite industry facing worldwide challenges

By Jamie Stinson

Infrastructure specialist Lagan Construction Group has announced pre-tax profits of £4.3m despite another challenging year in the industry.

However, both revenue and pre-tax profits were down compared to 2012/13.

In the 12 months to the end of March 2014, the company, led by chairman Michael Lagan, saw revenues fall from the previous year's figure of £165.1m to £137.6m, while pre-tax profits fell from £4.6m to £4.3m.

The firm said this was due to the escalation of costs and the poor performance of the economy in Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Lagan Construction Group chief executive Colin Loughran told the Belfast Telegraph: "2013/14 was a good year, despite the challenging conditions."

The firm has worked on projects at airports throughout the world, such as Heathrow, London Luton, Gatwick, Cardiff, Bristol and Bournemouth in the UK, as well as in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands and Bermuda in the Caribbean, and in Hong Kong and Pakistan.

The family-owned business was established in 1962 by Peter Lagan.

The testing time for the construction sector is expected to continue in 2015, with Lagan Construction Group facing the problem of a strong pound against the weakening euro. This has left it at a competitive disadvantage when doing business in the Republic.

If the pound gets stronger the firm may find it harder to win contracts in the Republic, the economist John Simpson said.

"The big issue for Lagan Construction Group is what happens to the value of sterling. If the sterling appreciates they may find it difficult to win contracts."

Mr Simpson added that the firm was "amongst our leading construction firms getting very large work outside Northern Ireland".

Mr Loughran said demand in the industry was low, making contracts very competitive. "In Northern Ireland the capital spend is still very low, there is not an abundance of contracts out there so it is very competitive."

However, the chief executive is confident the company can continue its profitability into the years to come. "The construction industry is always an unknown. We challenge ourselves to maintain revenue and grow the business," he said.

Mr Simpson said recent years have been a hard slog for the construction industry. "Construction firms have been to hell and high water. It's never easy for them. Those companies who have survived are remarkable."

Mr Loughran praised the work of Lagan Construction Group's staff in helping the firm win contracts. "Our ability to win contracts is all down to our people. Having good people with an interest in the company at heart."

In 2015, the firm's projects include the M8 motorway in Scotland and the N17 in the Republic.

Belfast Telegraph

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