Belfast Telegraph

Bosses ‘pleased’ as steel company Walter Watson triples its profits

By Margaret Canning

A Co Down company which makes and distributes steel products has reported a 20% fall in turnover to £30.2m.

However, pre-tax profits at Walter Watson Limited, which employs 189 people, tripled to £445,449 over 2013.

According to the company’s recently-filed report, directors are “exceptionally pleased with this performance given the current state of the local construction sector”.

The company’s report said it hopes activity will improve as the economy gets better.

The family-run business in Castlewellan has customers across Ireland and in Britain. It also has offices in Kildare and Glenrothes in Scotland.

Recent contracts include providing structural steel for the stage at the O2 Arena in Dublin, now called the 3Arena.

In the year ending December 31 2013, the group had turnover of £30.2m — which was down on £36.3m in 2012.

A business review in its report said 2013 had been “a successful year... despite the continuing difficult economic conditions and downturn affecting the construction sector”. It added: “It is pleasing to note the group has achieved a significant increase in profits, despite a decrease in turnover.

“The group continues to have the financial resources together with future orders from customers, to manage its business risks successfully, and hopefully as the economy improves, the levels of activity will increase.”

The report said the company’s operations were subject to risk from foreign exchange, prices, credit, liquidity and interest rates.

On foreign exchange risk, the company said the majority of revenues and expenses were carried out in sterling, adding: “The company is exposed to some foreign exchange risk in the normal course of business, particularly on sales in euros.

“The group from time to time uses forward contracts to hedge foreign exchange exposure on euro sales.”

Belfast Telegraph