Construction firm Esh sees profits drop after consolidation

Construction business Esh Group, which has major operations in Scotland, saw profits come under pressure from tough market conditions and costs of investment in IT last year.

Esh Groups regional managing director for Scotland, Simon Phillips. Picture: Sandy Young
Esh Groups regional managing director for Scotland, Simon Phillips. Picture: Sandy Young

The Durham-headquartered group, which moved into Scotland with the acquisition of Border Construction, saw turnover dip by £2 million to £275m in the year to 31 December with pre-tax profits down at £8.6m from £9.5m the previous year when the company had seen significant financial growth. Chief executive Brian Manning described it as a good performance given the backdrop.

“2015 was always anticipated as a year of consolidation in terms of turnover given the growth in 2014. Profit has been affected by a number of factors including market conditions, investments in business outside Scotland and costs ahead of a major IT project.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Manning said the construction industry was now showing signs of “sustained recovery” and with the company’s strong cash position, the group was well positioned to take advantage of opportunities.

Contracts being delivered by its Esh Border Construction arm north of the Border include one for Historic Scotland’s £8.9m Engine Shed project in Forthside, Stirling, due to open later this year.

The firm also recently announced several contract wins, including a £2m deal to extend three local primary schools for West Lothian Council, the construction of Midlothian Council’s £1.9m Eastfield Farm Care facility and a £1.6m contract with NHS Borders to build their new Roxburgh Health Centre

The company, which employs more than 100 people in Scotland, has also been appointed to Glasgow City Council’s framework for public sector construction works – with project values between £5m and £15m – the first of which is a project to repair parapets on the Balmuildy Bridge in the north of the city.

Esh Group was placed at 54 on the latest Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100, which ranks the UK’s private companies with the fastest growing profits over three years.