Belfast Telegraph

Profit slump at Co Antrim fit-out firm Marcon as new deal for Monaghan is unveiled

Martin McErlean of Marcon and Mirko Cerami, architect and exhibition designer, mark the project for Dublin's Museum of Literature Ireland
Martin McErlean of Marcon and Mirko Cerami, architect and exhibition designer, mark the project for Dublin's Museum of Literature Ireland
Whitby Abbey
HMS Victory
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Antrim fit-out firm Marcon has reported a 42% fall in pre-tax profits to £1.8m in its latest results.

Marcon Fit-Out Ltd reported a fall of around 11% in its turnover for the year ending March 2019, falling from £33.5m to £29.7m. Pre-tax profits were down from £3.1m a year earlier.

Marcon carries out shop-fitting projects and major schemes at museums and heritage sites. It has worked for brands including fast-food giant McDonald's, footwear brand Vans and consulting firm Grant Thornton.

The fall in pre-tax profits was partly down to a slump in other operating income at the business, which was down by over £60,000.

Government grants fell from around £58,000 in the 2018 financial year to just £750 in 2019.

And the company's corporation tax bill also fell by nearly 50% to £251,359.

Founder Mark O'Connor is the sole director of the business, which also includes a subsidiary incorporated in the Republic.

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Co-founder Mark McElroy stepped down on September 12, 2018. The accounts note that he was to be paid £352,843 at the end of the latest financial year.

A strategic report filed with the accounts said the results demonstrated "another successful year".

In the strategic report, Mr O'Connor said: "The group has continued to enjoy income from key customers which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, and is also winning new business across the UK and Ireland.

"The group will continue its success by remaining committed to providing a high quality service to its customers while remaining competitive and ensuring gross profits remain in line with company policy."

He added that "competitive risk" was a key factor for the business. However, during the year it had invested in research and development including developing "innovative and interactive displays" with new prototypes.

During the year projects in Europe accounted for £9.7m, with the majority of its work in the UK.

However, work in Europe had accelerated during the year, growing from just £2m a year earlier.

But there had been a fall in the value of its work from the UK, from £30.8m to £20.3m. Staff numbers had risen slightly from 56 to 58, giving the company a total paybill of £2m.

The highest-paid director received £70,080 in remuneration.

Last month it announced it had won a deal with Monaghan County Council to work on an exhibition centre about the life and work of poet Patrick Kavanagh. Marcon will produce furniture for the centre including map tables, handling tables and a reception desk as well as a conservation display case.

Contracts manager Martin McErlean said: "Given the importance of Patrick Kavanagh to the local area, we are proud to be given the opportunity to deliver this scheme, which should provide substantial benefits to the local community for the years ahead. Given our experience within the sector, we are ideally placed to successfully deliver the project and are looking forward to getting on site."

It was the second literary deal in the Republic after it worked on the fit-out of the Museum of Literature Ireland at the former UCD Newman House in Dublin.

Marcon also recently announced a deal to work on the HMS Victory gallery at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.

Last year it announced it would be working on a museum at Whitby Abbey. It also worked on the fit-out of the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy.

Belfast Telegraph