Construction woes push Barr into the red

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CONSTRUCTION and quarrying firm Barr was pushed into the red last year by two loss-making divisions it has since sold or closed.

The group, whose main office is in Paisley, said Solway Steel and Solway Precast ran up losses of £6.6 million, pushing it to an operating loss of £3.3m for the year.

The steel division was closed in January while the firm’s precast concrete business was sold to management last month in a deal that preserved some jobs at the South Ayrshire factory.

In accounts filed at Companies House, Barr said the two divisions had been loss-making “in recent years”. Combined with the current depressed nature of the construction industry, that had forced the company to divest the businesses.

Barr said its board did not expect the construction sector to show any improvement in the foreseeable future.

The headwinds buffeting the sector meant turnover at the group dropped to £211m, down from £254m in 2010.

It said it continued to invest in training its workforce of 700, and would replace workload loss by the construction business with more buoyant areas of trade, such as its industrial and waste management divisions. The group’s quarrying arm is developing new mineral reserves and the firm invested £900,000 in “capital additions” last year.

Barr admitted that the marketplace was challenging in all sectors where it trades, but it was developing its business and maintaining its investment.