Scots construction giant Cruden Group builds another profitable year

Construction outfit Cruden Group has unveiled its 22nd consecutive year of profitable trading, saying this came despite its financial results being significantly affected by Covid-19.

The group – which says it is one of Scotland’s largest independently owned and longest established residential development and construction businesses – in the year to March 31 achieved a pre-tax profit of £2.4 million before exceptional items due to Covid with reported turnover of £191.5m.

The latter consisted of construction for external clients of £153m, representing an average of about 2,900 units under construction during the year, and the sale of private housing of £38m (including the group’s share of joint ventures) representing 159 private homes sold in the period, both activities affected by the Covid-19 lockdown and ongoing restrictions.

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Multi-million contracts will provide dozens of new affordable homes in Glasgow
Cruden is working on the development at the former Victoria Infirmary site in Glasgow. Picture: contributed.

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Cruden stressed that it has maintained a strong capital base with net assets of £48.8m, cash reserves of £49.8m and access to “significant” undrawn bank facilities.

The number of homes it sold dropped to 159 from 241, with the fall directly attributed to lockdown and the pandemic, but the average sales value grew to £225,000 from £196,000, which it said showed strong demand for larger, family housing and the ongoing resilience of the UK housing market.

Additionally, the group highlighted its role as a major employer, with nearly 600 direct members of staff, including 60 apprentices and up to a further 1,000 subcontractors in its supply chain at any one time. The group was founded in 1943, and says it currently delivers around 1,200 properties every year – nearly one in 15 of all homes built in Scotland.

Cruden also emphasised its green credentials, noting that it aims to achieve net-zero carbon building emissions by 2045, by initiatives such as delivering what it said is Scotland’s first net-zero housing development on the site of a former care home, the Silverlea housing and community project, as part of the £1.3 billion Granton Waterfront regeneration project.

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It also flagged new projects such as developing, in partnership with client City of Edinburgh, the regeneration site at Fountainbridge that it says will comprise 460 new homes for multi-tenure rent, along with associated retail, office and community space, all targeting significant levels of sustainability.

Furthermore, it is delivering 344 homes to clients Sanctuary Housing Association and Beech Grove Homes at the Victoria Infirmary site on the south side of Glasgow.

Optimistic

Cruden Group chief executive Kevin Reid said: “We have weathered the storm, the outlook for the year ahead looks bright and our future construction pipeline is robust, particularly as we are included in several important procurement frameworks.

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"We are well-placed to benefit from these frameworks together with significant opportunities driven by a robust housing market in the Central Belt of Scotland. Our house building activities have expanded in recent years and market conditions and opportunities provide further scope for growth in this area.

“While the industry is working at full stretch to regain the ground lost during the last 18 months, we are extremely mindful that climate change has the potential to pose greater challenge than the pandemic, so we are firmly focused on reducing our carbon footprint while constructing green and energy-efficient homes in order to contribute to a better future for the planet.”

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