Belfast Telegraph

High-rise revival is welcomed as facade-maker's profits up 1,200%

By Margaret Canning

Job numbers at a Co Down architectural facades business have grown by 50% since its takeover by an English firm, according to its latest accounts.

Profit before taxation has risen more than 12-fold at McMullen Facades, up to £310,838 from last year's £25,638.

The revival of the high-rise property market in London bolstered the growth of the firm, which has a major manufacturing site in Moira.

The specialist construction company, which became part of the Winchester-based Lakesmere Group in 2012 and employs 160 people, focuses on the manufacture, design and installation of glazing, unitised curtain walling and specialist facades.

This year it reached turnover of £25.9m for the year ending January 31, 2015 - below a target of £30m which it set last year.

But the firm's latest report said it is targeting £32m in turnover next year.

And its report said it was "well placed to take advantage of the rising market". "We are lean, focused and strive for improvements in all that we do," it said.

The report said it believed itself to be the only UK firm capable of taking on major projects in its field.

McMullen's portfolio includes Stirling Prize winner the Evelyn Grace Academy in London and the Obel Building, The Boat and The Soloist in Belfast. Last year the company announced turnover of £26.4m in the 14 months to January 2014.

McMullen Facades in Moira was formerly known as McMullen Architectural Systems before the takeover by Lakesmere in 2012, which followed financial difficulties for the then family-run Moira firm.

The company is still led by Ted McMullen.

Last year, he said times had changed for McMullen since the takeover.

"It's now a different strategy and we are part of a much larger group, with large cash reserves and a slightly different strategy," he said.

"But there is a high level of development in people, processes and machinery, which we have been able to benefit from."

Mr McMullen has been working in the company since 1979. His father Edward founded it in 1971.

This week saw another comeback by a construction industry stalwart.

Concrete products manufacturer Acheson & Glover in Co Tyrone announced post-tax profits of more than £1.5m for the year after a buy-out by its chief executive, Raymond Acheson.

Belfast Telegraph