Belfast Telegraph

'Good year' for builder as staff numbers and profits on the up

By John Mulgrew

A Co Tyrone construction firm has grown its profits by 60%, buoyed by increased business in Great Britain and the Republic.

Western Building Systems Ltd in Coalisland - which specialises in modular buildings - increased its pre-tax profits to £3.36m in the year to April 30, 2015.

That was up from £2.1m a year before.

And while turnover fell slightly, dropping to £30.4m, the company's group auditor, Brendan Corr, said business had been strong in the last 18 months, due to a "strong team effort".

Mr Corr said it had been a "good year" for the business.

"(The company) expanded their market base into mainland UK over the last 18 months, and the Republic," he said.

He said the business had plans to expand further into Great Britain and the Republic over the next 18 to 24 months.

And he said the growth in profit was down to a team effort.

"It's a highly motivated team of employees and sub-contractors, and it's very much a family business, with the personal touch."

Western began as a flat roofing company in 1982, set up by Martin McCloskey, before expanding into steel framed garages and modular buildings.

The firm built its first modular classroom in 1986 and began producing steel-clad portable buildings in 1992 due to demand from contractors seeking offices and portable stores.

In the latest set of accounts, the company said its results were "satisfactory" set against a "background of increased competition in the market, and reduced margins".

It said it will focus on the education, health and commercial construction firms, and the outlook for next year is "encouraging", with performance expected to "be in line with 2015".

Western also grew its workforce in the last year, increasing staff numbers from 38 to 53.

That saw wages and pension costs increase to around £1.93m.

It also paid more corporation tax during the year to April 30 - rising to £568,000.

Some of its recent building projects include designing and building a new sixth form college for Garth Hill College, which is located in Bracknell, not far from London.

And this summer the first sod was turned by Education Minister John O'Dowd on a new £1.3m project for the Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach school in Crumlin.

Western Building Systems was behind the new four classroom-based building.

In 2013, Western completed 27 new nursery, primary, secondary and special needs school projects and sports halls throughout the UK and Ireland, in contracts which totalled £24.5m and provided employment for 650 people.

Belfast Telegraph