Belfast Telegraph

Tobermore's turnover climbs by 16% despite concerns over EU withdrawal

Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Paving and wall specialist Tobermore has reported a 16% rise in turnover to nearly £43m.

The Co Londonderry company, which also operates from Bangor, Dublin and Cork, saw turnover rise from £37m to £42.9m in the 12 months to April 30 last year.

Although pre-tax profits dipped by 8% to £9.1m, it was a year of expansion for the concrete firm, with its workforce increasing from 219 to 273. The biggest increase was in production and distribution staff.

Despite the growth, the company's latest annual report revealed that Tobermore's directors had established a working group in the hope of minimising any harm from the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

The firm's performance comes after another of Northern Ireland's key concrete product manufacturers, Acheson and Glover, placed its pre-cast subsidiary division in administration in November, with debts of approximately £3m.

The collapse of Acheson and Glover Precast Ltd resulted in the closure of plants in Magherafelt and Ballygawley, where just over 160 people worked, last year.

Acheson and Glover said uncertainty had entered the market since the Brexit referendum in 2016, with demand for its precast products falling by up to 40% last year.

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However, the latest company report from Tobermore Concrete Products Ltd indicates that demand remains strong for its paving and wall products.

The firm said it managed to maintain its market share in 2017/18 by placing a focus on new innovative products.

A strategic report from the business's directors also indicated that 99.7% of deliveries to the UK mainland were made on time last year.

The directors said: "The economic environment in which the company operates is expected to remain positive during the next 12 months.

"However, the future impact of Brexit on the local economy remains uncertain.

"The company is committed to taking a proactive approach by the establishment of a working group to look at the implications, risks and challenges Brexit may bring to the business and minimise any adverse impact."

Set up in 1942 by the Henderson family, Tobermore remains a family-run operation, with David Henderson now at the helm.

In the report, Mr Henderson said the firm's strategic focus had been on creating more opportunities in Britain.

"This has resulted in increased turnover and profitability. The directors anticipate this trend will continue throughout 2019," he added.

The report further outlined that shareholder funds in Tobermore Concrete Products Ltd decreased from £63.9m to £31.2m due to a dividend in specie, in the form of investments being transferred as part of a group reorganisation.

Tobermore's parent company is now Tobermore Holdings Limited, which was incorporated in the Isle of Man on April 26 last year.

Belfast Telegraph