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North-east construction firm remains upbeat despite reporting losses

Hugh Craigie Joint managing director of CHAP group
Hugh Craigie Joint managing director of CHAP group

North-east builder Chap has reported “significant progress” over the past year despite accounts showing the firm slid into the red.

The company said yesterday figures for its last full trading year were impacted by a cancelled project, a hefty pension scheme charge and ongoing challenges in the local market.

But it also highlighted a string of multi-million pound contracts, including construction work at Peterhead fish market, civil engineering on Muse and Aberdeen City Council’s Broad Street development and housing developments in Longside, near Peterhead, Woodland Grove on Royal Deeside and its new Orchard development at Froghall in Aberdeen.

Chap was also awarded the contract for Aberdeen City Council’s flagship Smithfield development, the largest council house development in more than a decade, which will see 99 homes built on the site of a former primary school. Phase one of the £13million project was handed over last month.

Joint managing director Hugh Craigie said: “The downturn as a result of the lower oil price continues to impact on consumer confidence in the local economy.

“While this has been a difficult trading year for us and the wider construction industry, we are delighted to have secured a number of significant new contracts and are already ahead of our projected budget for the current financial year.”

He added: “We have undertaken a business review across the group, identifying areas where higher efficiencies can be delivered and productivity increased.

“This, in line with our underlying strong performance and robust financial position, means we remain cash positive and are well-placed to capitalise on opportunities as the market recovers.”

Pre-tax losses for Chap (Holdings) during the year to September 30 came in at £1.523million, against profits of £521,000 a year earlier, but turnover for the latest period was up by about £1million at £37million.

In accounts lodged at Companies House, Chap said each of the companies’ operating divisions traded at a level that was “below expectation”.

Chap wrote off costs linked to a proposed housing development which failed to get planning approval.

Costs were also incurred in the revaluation of investment properties, while a revaluation of the final salary pension scheme saw the firm booking a £1.7million charge.

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