Cruden confident of building on 16-year run

Cruden helped build the Commonwealth Games athletes' village. Picture: Robert Perry
Cruden helped build the Commonwealth Games athletes' village. Picture: Robert Perry
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Construction group Cruden has hailed a further year of profitability after delivering a 48 per cent surge in annual earnings.

The Edinburgh-based group is in the black for the 16th consecutive year with a pre-tax profit of £7.1 million for the 12 months to the end of March. Turnover during the period, which included the retrofit of the Commonwealth Games athletes’ village in Glasgow, increased by nearly 6 per cent to £142.2m.

Chairman Mike Rowley said the group was “delighted” with its progress, which spans one of the deepest financial crises in living memory. Though markets remain challenging, conditions are steadily improving.

“Going forward, we are confident that the group is extremely well-positioned to take advantage of the many new and existing opportunities that are available to us,” Rowley added.

Cruden benefited from its expansion into commercial site development, buying and selling sites for student accommodation, care homes and retail outlets. In each case, the development also resulted in construction activity for the group.

Turnover in the construction business rose by 5 per cent to £129m. Major projects included completion of the single largest National Housing Trust contract in Scotland for 145 flats at Salamander Place in Edinburgh. Cruden was also a member of the consortium responsible for the athletes’ village built for last year’s Commonwealth Games.

A total of 700 units have been converted for regular residential occupation, including 400 for rent.

The residential division sold 80 homes during the year, down from 90 in the previous 12 months. The average sales value, including joint ventures, fell by £3,000 to £181,000 due to the mix of units selling. The drop in the number of homes sold was due to a smaller number of sales outlets as developments reached full occupancy, but directors expect that number to increase “substantially” as new developments come on stream.

Managing director Kevin Reid said the group was poised to build upon its latest successful year, which saw a 10.5 per cent rise in net assets to £35.8m. Cash balances remain positive at more than £27m.

“The Cruden Group continues to benefit from its balanced exposure to the construction and residential development sectors and whilst economic factors continue to create a degree of uncertainty within the market, the group is extremely well-placed to manage these risks,” Reid added.

Established in 1943, Cruden employs about 600 people across offices in Edinburgh, East Lothian and Glasgow. The group’s construction companies, Cruden Building & Renewals and Hart Builders, have a combined direct workforce of more than 500 people.