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Construction and materials giant Northstone posts £6.8m loss


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One of Northern Ireland’s biggest construction and building materials firms has swung from profit to posting a loss before tax of more than £6.8m amid the impact of Covid-19.

Northstone (NI) Limited, which is part of CRH plc, posted the loss during the year ending December 2020. That was down from strong pre-tax profits of £10.6m a year earlier.

The company said it saw a £21m drop in revenue with turnover “in all areas of activity affected mainly due to the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown imposed on all business during that period”.

Northstone posted turnover of £362.5m for the year ending December 2020. That was down from £383.5m a year earlier.

“Savings in overheads reduced the impact of the turnover decrease in the operating loss and loss before tax,” the company said in the latest accounts.

The company says it anticipates “modest growth” in 2021. It also said it didn’t avail of the Government’s furlough system during the period.

Its workforce stands at just over 1,400 staff, according to the latest accounts, with its overall total wage bill coming to £59.8m.

Speaking about future development plans, the company says it aims to “continuously upgrade the company’s production facilities”. It also says it will continue to seek out new businesses “within its existing area of expertise”.

Northstone Group is one of Northern Ireland’s largest construction and buildings materials firms, and is the local arm of one of the biggest global giants in the industry.

It’s part of the listed Dublin-headquartered business CRH plc – a business employing more than 76,000 people across 29 countries.

In Northern Ireland, Northstone includes construction giant Farrans – a firm with more than 500 staff working across the UK and Ireland, Northstone Materials, which supplies concrete and quarry products, and Cubis Systems.

The overall firm came in at the number 21 spot on last year’s Top 100 list, with a turnover of £385.5m, up from £374.5m a year earlier.

“We believe that we are improving our business as a whole at the moment, with a number of large-scale changes taking place to make our processes more efficient, and we will see the positive impact of that from 2021 onwards,” John Wilson, chief executive of Northstone Group, told Ulster Business last summer.