Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Patton Group Ltd

By John Simpson

The Patton Group has been one of the fastest growing building companies based in Northern Ireland. In addition to local contracts, it now also has three subsidiary companies working in England and the Republic. Recently the group won the premier award in 2009 for Building Excellence in the competition organised by the Construction Employers Federation.

The business has, in common with the rest of the industry, recently faced much more demanding trading conditions than in recent years. Turnover in 2008 fell by 3%.

The group accounts suggest that housing work and fit-out contracts may have traded with much tighter margins or, for fit-out work in the London area, generated a loss.

However, the group successfully maintained overall operating profits, with a 44% reduction, with only a manageable fall in the gross margins from 9.5% to 8.1%.

The group has reviewed its land bank and made adjustments which adversely affected its gross margins.

Pre-tax profits fell dramatically, reflecting a fall in operating profit to which was added a large increase in interest payments and a net charge for exceptional items which cost £0.6m.

Nevertheless, average employment continued to increase and, at 564 people, was 20% higher than two years earlier.

Post-tax profits are retained in the business which injected a small increase in the balance sheet value of shareholders funds, reaching £36.6m. This represented a doubling in value of these funds in a five-year period.