Belfast Telegraph

£55m McAvoy Group sales boost as school building projects gather momentum

By John Mulgrew

Co Tyrone mobile building business McAvoy Group is on course to hit £55m in sales, after witnessing a boost in its profits.

The firm saw pre-tax profits increase to £1.1m for the period ending October 2015, and turnover increasing to £47m.

That was up from just shy of £500,000 in the previous period, which only covered the 10 months to October 2014.

The Dungannon firm's managing director, Eugene Lynch, told the Belfast Telegraph the company plans to grow further still, hitting £55m for 2016, after landing a host of eight-figure deals - mainly for schools in England.

"It's primarily through our focus on education products, delivered through various frameworks.

"We are progressing a secondary in Slough, called the Lynch Hill Enterprise Academy."

That project alone is worth around £20m.

"2016 is on target to exceed the 2015 performance. And we are currently seeing some good success as we look beyond 2016 and into 2017."

The bulk of the firm's business is in England, primarily in the south East, with some also taking place in the Republic.

Sadly, he says, there isn't the same level of demand for the modern, modular designs in Northern Ireland.

McAvoy Group now employs around 155 staff, and has increased its headcount over the last year.

Speaking about expanding the business, Mr Lynch said: "The plans would be to develop our product beyond the education sector. Other areas would be health, accommodation, including student accommodation, and perhaps housing."

And it's a company which has fought its way back to growth, after a slump during the downturn.

"The backdrop is when we entered into the downturn, we were a £25m company, and we reduced significantly," Mr Lynch said.

And he's confident the company can increase its turnover to £55m, and hopes to boost the business by around 10% each year.

McAvoy Group is also one of the few construction-related companies in Northern Ireland with a woman at the helm. Orla Corr is the company's executive chairperson.

Mr Lynch said the business's success was "testament to the investment in people, and the work of the people in the organisation".

It's just handed over a new school project in Hounslow, called The Rise.

The Rise School educates and supports children and young people with autism, enabling them to access a challenging curriculum alongside pupils at mainstream school.

McAvoy has landed a number of big contracts over the last year.

And just last year it signed a deal worth £18m to work on a school in England.

It signed the contract to build Goresbrook School in London, in the borough of Barking and Dagenham.

In the latest set of accounts, the company spent £5.1m on staff costs. That was up from the year before.

In the 10 months to October 2014, the business posted turnover of £36m. But its pre-tax profits of £489,000 for that 10-month period were up on a loss of £1.8m a year earlier.

Belfast Telegraph