Profits and turnover have leapt at aggregates giant Breedon Group during the “most eventful year” in the company’s history.
Chief among those events was the completion last summer of the group’s “transformational” £330million acquisition of Hope Construction Materials.
The company, which is supplying materials for the Aberdeen city bypass and dualling work on the A9 south of Inverness, yesterday released full-year results for 2016 showing a 50% rise in pre-tax profits to £46.8million.
Turnover at the group also soared by 43% to almost £455million in the year to December 31, compared to 2015.
In addition to Hope, Breedon Group also acquired County Durham-based Sherburn Minerals Group in November, increasing its workforce by 100 to around 2,300.
Listed on the Alternative Investment Market, the group is the largest independent construction materials business in the UK. It operates quarries, ready-mixed concrete operations and other facilities across the north and north-east.
In his foreword to the annual results, Peter Ward, chief executive of the Jersey-headquarterd company, said market conditions had proved “very resilient” during 2016. He added that overall construction output growth of 1.5% had been a “very much better outturn than anticipated by some economists in the wake of the Brexit vote.”
Mr Ward said the group looked forward to 2017 with “confidence and enthusiasm” and expected to make “further progress both operationally and financially.”
But he added a note of caution, saying: “There is no doubt that continuing uncertainty over the timing and nature of the UK’s departure from the EU has the potential to create confusion in the economy.
“However, we believe that the need for investment in UK infrastructure and housing remains critical and it was encouraging to hear the Government committing in its Autumn Statement to prioritising spending in these areas over the next few years, which we believe will help to stimulate corresponding investment from the private sector.”
A joint-venture with Whitemountain, the contract, worth up to £55million, to lay asphalt on the Aberdeen city bypass is the largest won by Breedon Group.
It was hailed by company chairman, Peter Tom, among its highlights of last year.
He said: “2016 was arguably the most eventful in the group’s history. We completed our largest acquisition to date, invested a record amount in our business, began supplying our largest ever contract and delivered an excellent financial performance – all against the backdrop of an uncertain economic environment and challenging conditions in many of our markets.”
The company expects the bypass project to provide a “significant workload” into 2018.
Looking ahead, the group said a large order for the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre will “underpin ready-mixed concrete volumes in that market throughout the year.”
It also expects its work on the A9 dualling project between Inverness and Perth to be completed in the first half of this year.