Construction group Kier hails '˜exciting' Scottish workload

Kier, the construction group behind the restoration of the fire-damaged Glasgow School of Art, today hailed its 'exciting' workload north of the Border as it revealed higher annual profits.

Kier Construction Scotland employs about 200 people. Picture: Chris Biele
Kier Construction Scotland employs about 200 people. Picture: Chris Biele

The firm, which employs about 200 people at its Kier Construction Scotland division, has landed a raft of deals spanning social housing, healthcare and the education sector, where it is working on the £43 million William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock and at the £35m redevelopment of Marr College in Troon.

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“Education remains an important sector for us and we are currently developing the design and build requirements for the new £25m Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr,” said Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland.

'Education remains an important sector for us,' said Kier's Brian McQuade. Picture: Contributed

He added: “We have also strengthened our healthcare portfolio with a number of recent wins, including work with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde at Stobhill Hospital, NHS Highland at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and we have been appointed principal supply chain partner at Golden Jubilee National Hospital.”

McQuade’s comments came as Kier, which has offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Inverness, said its underlying pre-tax profits rose 8 per cent to £126m for the year to the end of June, on revenues 5 per cent higher at almost £4.3 billion. The group’s annual turnover in Scotland stands at more than £150m.

On a statutory basis, the group returned to the black with a profit of £26m, compared with a £35m loss a year earlier.

'Education remains an important sector for us,' said Kier's Brian McQuade. Picture: Contributed

“Kier Construction Scotland is also working on an exciting range of heritage projects, restoring some of the country’s most important landmarks for future generations to enjoy,” McQuade added.

As well as its “intricate restoration” of the world-renowned Mackintosh Building for Glasgow School of Art, which has seen Kier recently complete work on a new roof, the firm is involved in restoring Edinburgh College of Art’s sandstone building off Lauriston Place, along with another A-listed project, Aberdeen’s Music Hall.

Kier chief executive Haydn Mursell said: “Our underlying performance for the year was good. Having simplified our portfolio, the group is more focused and able to pursue its growth ambitions in our three core markets; building, infrastructure and housing, which now represent 90 per cent of the group’s revenue and profit.

“We continue to invest in the business to improve our operational efficiency, providing a robust platform on which to take advantage of the strong long-term fundamentals in these core markets.”

A full-year dividend of 67.5p a share was proposed, to be paid on 1 December, marking a 5 per cent rise on last year’s payout.

Howard Seymour, an analyst at Numis, which rates Kier’s shares as a “buy”, said the construction group’s stock has been “hit by sentiment relating to issues in the wider sector, though full-year results and confidence about the outlook indicate Kier has no such issues”.