Contracting firm with 300 Scottish staff unveils 'positive' results and bumper pipeline of work

Graham, the contracting firm that employs some 300 people in Scotland, has highlighted a bumper order book after posting higher profits despite a fall in turnover.

Publishing accounts for the year to the end of March, the group said the business had demonstrated resilience “in the face of multiple pressures” associated with the pandemic.

It recorded a profit before tax of just over £12.3million – an increase of 7.4 per cent. Profit before tax margins rose to 1.5 per cent. That came despite overall revenue for the year falling by £45m to £808.1m.

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Each business unit, comprising of building, civil engineering, interior fit-out, facilities management and investment projects, remained profitable throughout the period, the firm stressed,

Michael Graham, group executive chairman: 'Without question, this has been a particularly challenging period for every contractor in the construction industry.' Picture: Press Eye/Darren Kidd
Michael Graham, group executive chairman: 'Without question, this has been a particularly challenging period for every contractor in the construction industry.' Picture: Press Eye/Darren Kidd

In early 2020, the onset of the pandemic created “uncertain operating conditions” and led to a reduction in productivity as the entire construction industry adjusted to lockdown restrictions and guidance.

Revenue in the three-month period from April to June 2020 was reduced by 42 per cent against pre-Covid forecast levels.

In an effort to protect the employment of more than 2,000 UK-wide staff, the firm tapped into the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

As soon as market conditions stabilised, the business was positioned to repay the furlough grants it received from the start of July 2020. All of the employees who had their salaries reduced (April to June 2020) were repaid in this financial year.

Cash at the bank and in hand increased in the period to £118.9m, from £72.9m a year earlier, allowing the company to improve its supplier payment statistics.

The business has secured a record work pipeline of £1.7 billion.

The delivery of this portfolio coincides with the launch of a new corporate social responsibility strategy, which has been “strategically aligned” to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Bosses will now focus the business on delivering “lasting impact” for the environment, its people and within the communities it operates.

Ambitious targets and commitments, including one to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, have been established to measure success.

Michael Graham group executive chairman, said: “The published accounts are very positive. Without question, this has been a particularly challenging period for every contractor in the construction industry. This makes our latest financial figures even more impressive.

“In such an unprecedented time for wider society, our priority was simultaneously ensuring the health and safety of all of our people while protecting the future of our business.”

He added: “A sensible, pragmatic leadership approach has helped us to achieve these twin objectives. Throughout the pandemic, our staff, supply chain and subcontractors have gone above and beyond. I want to thank each of them and their families for their immense efforts.”

In March, the firm secured two key student accommodation projects in Edinburgh with a combined value of almost £35m.

The deal with Watkin Jones, which specialises in the development of residential-for-rent schemes, involved projects close to Murrayfield Stadium and at nearby Gorgie Road.

Graham is a privately-owned company that specialises in the delivery of construction, civil engineering, interior fit-out, facilities management and investment projects.

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