Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: McAleer and Rushe Group Ltd

By John Simpson

Construction company shows sharp fall in turnover

The McAleer and Rushe Group consolidates the results for a range of subsidiary companies including several property companies and other construction and civil engineering businesses.

The group first registered as from 1 April 2008 and is one of the largest construction businesses in Northern Ireland, including a major contract workload outside of the region.

The trading results for the year to March 2010 show a sharp fall of 43% in turnover following steady increases in the preceding period. In 2008-9 turnover rose by £13m and exceeded £100m for the first time. Now, in the most recent year, turnover fell by £46m.

In a more notable change, operating profits of £9m in 2008-9 were transformed into an operating loss in 2009-10 of over £10m. Over £7m of this operating loss is attributed to unusual one-off extra costs in that year.

Pre-tax losses reflect the impact of net interest payments and, more recently, deductions for exchange-rate losses including £5.4m in 2008-9. In 2009-10, there was a net gain from exchange rate movements of £1.4m.

No dividend was paid to the shareholders in the two most recent years.

As with many businesses in construction, the number of direct employees is small when set against the overall turnover. Sub-contracting accounts for part of the workload.

The average number of employees in 2009-10 fell by 57 people to average only 106. At the end of the financial year, in March 2010, the balance sheet showed large changes when compared with a year earlier. Current assets were £36m lower at £114m. Creditors due within one year rose by £43m to reach £88m. In contrast, creditors due in more than one year fell by nearly £68m. A feature of these alterations was a big change in the structure of bank financing.

A further consequence of the more difficult trading conditions was that the value of shareholders' funds fell by 66% at be valued at end March at £5.9m The annual group report, in addition to the wholly owned subsidiary companies, also lists transactions with 62 other firms in which the owners of McAleer and Rushe have declared interests. This diverse list includes companies such as the Swiss Centre, Aldergrove Airport Hotel, Clandeboye Developments, Flamewall and Leicester Square Investments.

The report contains a cautionary note about the possible actions of NAMA, to which some of the loan facilities have been transferred. It also notes a write-down of £2.3m in the value of development land held by the group.