Kier Group said yesterday its relatively young Scottish business was on track for further growth after a £230million-plus contribution from north of the border.
Bedfordshire-based Kier has steadily been building up its interests in Scotland, largely through its construction and services divisions.
Announcing results for the year to June 30 yesterday, the group said its Scottish operations made a significant contribution to its “impressive results”.
The company posted a 17% jump in underlying pre-tax profits to £85.9million and said revenue grew by 14% to £3.4billion, helped by projects including Robert Gordon University (RGU)’s £120million Garthdee campus development in Aberdeen and a new office in Inverness.
Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction’s Scotland and north-east England business, said: “Our financial results show that we have delivered on margin, turnover and diversification into sectors as planned, with new ventures into the maintenance and management markets proving particularly exciting.
“The opening of a new office in Inverness is one of my personal highlights of the year, helping to support our increased operations in the region.
“We have a positive track record of collaboration, strong technical ability and a culture of innovation north of the border, and I look forward to continuing this good work for years to come.”
Kier’s Inverness office, giving it better coverage across Scotland, created 10 full-time jobs and new apprenticeship opportunities in the Highland capital.
Projects keeping the north branch busy include work on a £14million community centre and primary school campus at Caol, near Fort William, and upgrades to council house heating in Alness and Inverness.
Kier Construction recently finished the second phase of RGU’s campus project, where the new £16million Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment is welcoming its first students this month.
It follows the first phase of the Sir Ian Wood Building, housing the university’s engineering, computing science, digital media and pharmacy and life sciences schools as well as new library and research facilities.
Kier said its results reflected strong growth across Scotland and the north-east of England, with its north construction arm now employing 186 people from head offices in Glasgow supported by satellites in Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle.
The construction division’s Aberdeen and Inverness offices employ 31 and 10 people respectively.
Kier’s business north of the border was boosted by the group’s April 2012 acquisition of part of the commercial-property division of north-east builder Stewart Milne Group in a £1million deal.
And in 2013, Kier paid £221million for May Gurney – trumping a £177million offer from Costain – to give it control over the former business of north-east company Turriff Group, which Norwich-based May Gurney had acquired in January 2011 in a deal believed to be worth up to £23million.
The old Turriff business now forms part of Kier’s services division, which grew underlying operating profits and revenue by 9% and 13% respectively during 2014/15.