Belfast Telegraph

Severfield: John Simpson's analysis and company report:

By John Simpson

Enniskillen-based Fisher Engineering was taken over by Severfield-Rowan PLC in October 2007. In March 2014 the local company was renamed as Severfield (NI).

The parent company, as part of the larger group, is now Action Merchants Ltd.

The company specialises in constructional steelwork extending to design, fabrication and the erection of structural steelwork.

The trading results in 2013-14 show a modest recovery from those in the previous trading period. In the period from 2008 to 2010, turnover fell sharply and this was reflected in a major reduction in operating and pre-tax profits. Since then, turnover in 2011, at £59.9m, reached a new peak before a fall in 2012-13 and, more recently, some recovery.

Trading conditions in 2013-14 were described as difficult, in common with other construction businesses. The order book for work in 2014 is described by the company as satisfactory. The directors report that they view the outlook this year with confidence.

Severfield (NI) has only a small reliance on borrowed funds so that its operating profits and pre-tax profits (excluding exceptional items) are similar and show the same year to year changes.

Operating profits in 2013-14, at £1.1m, were low by the standards of recent years.

However, on an annualised basis, there was a useful recovery from the much lower levels in the previous period.

In each of the two more recent trading periods, the company made dividend payments of £5m to the new shareholder. This had the effect of reducing the balance sheet value of shareholders’ funds from £29.7m at the end of 2011, £25.4m in March 2013 and further to £21.4m in March 2014. Average employment at 282 people has remained stable, close to its highest level of 285, in 2009.

Belfast Telegraph