Belfast Telegraph

Pre-tax profits at McAleer & Rushe surge to hit £10m

Numerous other contracts close to being secured by Co Tyrone construction firm

By John Mulgrew

Construction giant McAleer & Rushe has doubled its pre-tax profits to £10m and says it is close to landing further big projects this year.

The Co Tyrone firm, which is involved in major student accommodation and hotel projects across the UK, saw turnover rise to £242m, according to accounts for McAleer & Rushe Contracts UK Ltd, ending December 2016.

The profit surge is expected to thrust the company back into the 2017 Belfast Telegraph Top 100 Companies in association with Arthur Cox, published next Tuesday.

In 2016, the firm was "on-site" with 22 projects at the end of the year.

"The company is close to securing a number of further large scale contracts, with both new and existing clients," the firm said in its strategic report.

The Cookstown company now employs 270 people and focuses on commercial office, residential, student accommodation and hotel projects. Staff numbers rose by around 60, up from an average of 209 a year earlier.

Turnover, according to its latest accounts, rose from £180m to £242m - up by 34%.

At the end of last year the firm signed a £25m deal to build and lease out a four-star hotel in Newcastle, England.

Closer to home, McAleer & Rushe is working on the construction of a new Maldron Hotel at Brunswick Street in the centre of Belfast. It will be Irish plc Dalata Group's fourth hotel here.

It also owns the Maldron Hotel at Belfast International Airport, the Clayton Hotel on Ormeau Avenue in the centre of the city, and the Maldron Hotel in Londonderry.

It's also building what will become the largest single student accommodation scheme in Belfast - a 740-bedroom development at College Avenue in Belfast, as well as more student housing at McClintock Street.

The McClintock Street and College Avenue developments are to be sold to Queen's University.

Seamus McAleer, chairman of McAleer & Rushe said: "Over the last number of years we have taken a targeted and strategic approach to business development and the whole team has contributed to the success we are currently enjoying in this our 50th year."

The company's business outside the UK, also increased, with work elsewhere in Europe rising from £3.3m to £10.9m.

Chief executive Eamonn Laverty said: "The quality of our staff and our design and build teams have been pivotal to our success and to the delivery of sustainable growth across the UK and Ireland.

"With £500m of contracted work at this point and the experienced team we have in place, we are looking forward, with confidence, to further building on these very positive financial results in 2017 and beyond."

According to the latest accounts, the highest paid director received £175,000. That was up from £127,404 a year earlier.

Economist John Simpson described the firm as a "very ambitious company doing a wide range of works".

"I suspect more than half of that would be outside Northern Ireland," he said.

The firm was last included in the Belfast Telegraph Top 100 Companies list in 2014, when it came in at number 99.

McAleer & Rushe is also working on a joint venture with Ewart Properties to redevelop a listed building in Belfast city centre into new office space. The B+ listed Ewarts building on Bedford Street is due to be redeveloped and altered, alongside plans for a second new 17-storey building, linked by a second-floor walkway.

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