Belfast Telegraph

FP McCann posts £168.7m turnover thanks to major deals and new acquisitions

By Yvette Shapiro

Success in winning major infrastructure contracts and strategic acquisitions in Northern Ireland and Great Britain has powered another surge in turnover, profit and employment at the Magherafelt construction company FP McCann.

The family-owned firm has reported a 24.4% growth in turnover to £168.7m for the 11 months to the end of December. Pre-tax profit was up 21.6% to £12.3m.

FP McCann has been in business for more than 70 years and is run by the McCann family. Employing around 1,350 people across its sites in Northern Ireland and England, it's a major player in the civil engineering sector.

The company is the UK's largest precast concrete manufacturer, with plants in Knockloughrim and Lisnaskea, and 10 locations in England. It's also involved in joint venture operations with the Dutch giant BAM for large-scale road and rail projects.

Last summer, the company bought over the Co Fermanagh quarry and construction firm P Clarke and Sons after it went into administration. In December, it added to its precast concrete arm with the acquisition of Buchan Concrete Products, a long-established firm employing 300 people in Cheshire and Staffordshire which was also in administration. The annual accounts show that FP McCann paid almost £8.9m for the two businesses.

In his report filed at Companies House, managing director Eoin McCann said: "The continual improvement in construction and construction related demand, including joint venture projects, has had a positive impact on company turnover.

"The directors believe that acquisitions undertaken over the last few years have contributed to a well diversified portfolio of products and services and our increased geographical spread of operations will allow us to capitalise on new infrastructure opportunities.

"The directors also believe that continual investment to develop new markets and further increase the skills base within the company will provide for sustained growth in the medium term."

Locally, the company has been the lead contractor on several of Northern Ireland's multi-million pound town centre "public realm" regeneration projects, including Bangor, Newtownards and Magherafelt, as well as the construction of the A31 Magherafelt by-pass, the dualling of the A26 in Co Antrim and the upgrading of the Coleraine to Londonderry railway line. It also holds the maintenance contract for the Northern Ireland Railways network.

The firm is currently working on Belfast City Council's £9.5m environmental resource park at the North Foreshore and has just been awarded the contract to build a new sports pavilion at Musgrave Park in south Belfast.

FP McCann recently supplied over 6000m3 of readymix concrete to Altaveedan Wind Farm in Loughguile, which was used to construct nine wind turbine bases, hardstandings and other concrete structures. Each base required 66 loads of concrete, which had to be continuously supplied in one day due to planning conditions.

Last month, the firm delivered nearly 600 precast concrete spectator terracing units to the £17.5m Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff, the new home of the Cardiff Devils ice hockey team. The 3,000 seat arena is nearing completion with FP McCann playing a major part in the construction. Its products have also been used on major projects at Swansea and Cambridge universities, and on railway projects, including the supply of modular platforms to London Bridge.

Marketing director Kieran Fields said the company had continued to grow, even through the recession, and now had one of the most extensive precast portfolios of any UK company.

"The philosophy is quite simple," he said. "We talk to our customers and try to understand exactly what they want.

"We have good products and we keep a large stock to meet demand without delay, which is very important in the current market in GB where demand is increasing.

"We've seen growth in all aspects of the business, even in Northern Ireland where the rate of growth is slower than in the UK but it's still on the up.

"However, it would be nice to see a bit more government investment in infrastructure in Northern Ireland. There's not as much happening at home as in GB."

Belfast Telegraph