Belfast Telegraph

Kane Building Services confident despite profits slump


By John Mulgrew

A Co Down building services firm has said its order book is "already very strong" for this year, despite witnessing a drop in turnover and profits. Turnover at Kane Building Services Group fell to £25.1m during the year to March 31, down from £27.8m 12 months earlier. Pre-tax profits dropped around 9%, falling from £962,578 to £875,665 during the year to March 31, 2016.

Writing in the strategic report in its latest set of accounts, the Castlewellan-based business said:"The company's order book is already very strong and certain new markets are showing signs of promise.

"It is anticipated that the construction industry will continue to show improvement during 2016 and the directors believe that the company is well positioned to benefit from future growth in this area".

Speaking about any potential dangers facing the firm, the company said: "Risks and uncertainties include euro exchange rates along with economic recovery in the construction sector".

The business, which was founded in 1967, specialises in a range of areas, including mechanical, electrical and pre-fabrication services.

It has worked on a number of big projects, including the Premier Inn at Gatwick Airport and Dundalk Stadium.

Remunerations received by company directors increased over the course of the year.

Total remuneration, including contribution to pension schemes, rose from £175,834 to £275,824.

The workforce increased from 56 in 2015, to 74 during the last financial year. The company said staff costs "increased in line with the increase in average staff numbers".

A number of other firms in the construction sectors have performed well, according to their latest accounts.

That includes Belfast building firm H&J Martin, which turned around losses and edged back into profit following its takeover by the Lagan Construction Group.

In its most recently filed accounts to March 31, 2016, the company reported turnover of £47.6m, with a small operating profit of £60,000.

That contrasts with turnover of £98.5m and a £5.7m loss a year earlier.

A deal for Lagan Construction Group to take over H&J Martin was first revealed by the Belfast Telegraph early last year.

Meanwhile, off-site building company McAvoy Group said it hoped to more than double turnover to £100m as it announced nearly 40 new posts.

The family-run company makes structures on its own site for transportation to customers as permanent buildings or extensions. It also rents out temporary structures.

Now the Dungannon business is spending nearly £10m on boosting its permanent buildings section and its hire division, as well as improving its IT.

Elsewhere, a recovery in construction jobs in the year to September 2015 may have been short-lived, with the sector experiencing another squeeze, it has been claimed.

According to the annual business register and employment survey from the Department for the Economy, building firms recruited another 1,425 workers in the year to September 2015.

Overall, there were 728,932 jobs in Northern Ireland in September last year, the survey said - up 1.1% on the year before.

And despite high-profile job loss announcements at manufacturers like tobacco giant JTI Gallaher and tyre manufacturer Michelin, there were another 3,162 manufacturing jobs added to the sector during the year.

John Armstrong, head of industry group the Construction Employers Federation, said the growth in jobs in the year to September 2015 reflected a time when the industry had finally begun to pick up from the recession. It was the hardest-hit part of the economy here.

decline in pre-tax profits at Kane Building Services Group, which also saw turnover tumble to £25.1m

Belfast Telegraph