ONE of Scotland’s biggest privately-owned construction companies yesterday posted its first loss in 38 years of business after writing down the value of its land at Rosyth’s waterfront.
Muir Group, which was founded by chairman John Muir in 1974, slashed the book value of its share of land along the Firth of Forth by £4.5 million, which the firm branded as a “major disappointment”.
Last year, Muir had warned the industry was facing its “toughest year” with “too little work for too many contractors”.
His prediction has now come to pass, with the write-down forcing his firm to post a loss of £1.1m for the year to 30 January, compared with a profit of £1.7m in the previous 12 months.
The group managed to stay in the black at an operating level, although the surplus halved to £1m on the back of a fall in turnover to £62m from £72.9m, according to figures released ahead of the business filing its results at Companies House.
Muir said his group was now “ready for the upturn” after investing in new technology for its construction business and developing different styles of homes for its house-building arm.
The group’s Muir Homes division appeared to have turned a corner, with revenues rising to £14m from £11.8m as the firm concentrated on smaller, more up-market developments.
Home sales for 2013 are already up 20 per cent year-on-year, the company said.
Despite turnover at its construction division dropping to £38m from £50m, Muir said that the decline in orders had finally “bottomed out”, although the sector remains “extremely competitive” with prices at “unsustainable levels”.
The group said that its Deer Park Golf & Country Club in Livingston had retained its tournament spot on golf’s European Tour and that tickets were sold out for this summer’s event.
Muir Group and its property development partner, Scarborough Group International, bought its site in Rosyth from the Ministry of Defence in 2000.
The pair set up their Scarborough Muir Group (SMG) joint venture to remove more than one million tonnes of concrete from a First World War naval fuel storage bunker.
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