Sir Robert McAlpine flags solid order book

Construction and civil engineering company Sir Robert McAlpine has flagged its strongest order book for more than a decade but exceptional items saw it book a hefty full-year loss.

The firms projects include construction of Wimbledons No.1 court roof. Picture: Contributed
The firms projects include construction of Wimbledons No.1 court roof. Picture: Contributed

The firm said that due to work undertaken on three energy-from-waste projects – a sector in which it will “not be pursuing future opportunities” – losses after exceptional items amounted to £23m million.

The annual report and accounts submitted to Companies House by parent company, Newarthill, for the year ended 31 October recognise underlying profits of £17m and a loss after exceptional items of £20m.

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The privately owned family business said it maintained strong cash liquidity “without any recourse to corporate borrowing”.

Hertfordshire-headquartered Sir Robert McAlpine, which was founded in 1869 by the Motherwell-born businessman of the same name, confirmed underlying profits of £14m and a secured order book and pipeline “which is at its strongest for over ten years”.

The company, which has been responsible for the building of many iconic structures including the Glenfinnan Viaduct and Wembley Stadium, added that first-half results for 2018 provided a “firm foundation” to the current financial year.

The first six months showed a profit of £13m, “in line with budget and expectations”, it noted.

Chief executive Paul Hamer said: “Whilst our 2017 financial results are disappointing and directly attributable to our exposure to the waste-to-energy sector, I am encouraged that our reinvigorated focus on engineering and operational excellence is already having an impact on our business performance.

“Our results for the first six months of 2018 are in-line with budget and our secured order book is stronger than it has been for the last ten years.

“The company has a particularly strong current portfolio and future pipeline of construction management work in London which helps to create a more appropriate balance of risk across the company. The focus will be to build upon Sir Robert McAlpine’s already recognised strengths in key sectors, namely commercial office, build-to-rent, health, retail and education.”

He added: “Whilst the performance for the first six months of this financial year is encouraging, we recognise that there is a great deal of work ahead of us as we continue to build for our 150-year anniversary in 2019.”

The company highlighted a string of major contract awards and project updates for 2017 including the completed construction of the new US embassy in London, the completion of 132,000 square feet of grade A office accommodation at Silver Fin in Aberdeen for the BA Pension Trust Fund, the commencement of site works at Phase 3A of the Battersea residential development in London, with a budgetary value of £700m, and a further phase of work at the Royal Albert Hall.

The firm, which built Glasgow’s St Enoch shopping centre, also pointed to “significant progress” on the construction of Wimbledon’s No.1 court retractable roof which “supports a future push into the stadium sector”.