Aggregates giant Breedon said yesterday the economic uncertainty created by the Brexit vote could deliver opportunities for further expansion.
Breedon, which employs more than 1,200 people and operates 54 quarries, 26 asphalt sites, 61 ready-mixed concrete/mortar facilities and three concrete block plants around the UK, has already gobbled up several rivals in recent years.
Its latest acquisition, its £336million takeover of Hope Construction Materials, is expected to complete on August 1.
The number of quarries and concrete plants owned by Breedon will rise to 60 and more than 200 respectively after the deal, which will also see the group’s workforce mushroom to about 2,100.
A total of 14 ready-mix concrete plants, including Hope’s plant at Cloddach, Moray, and one of the one of the two Inverness sites owned by Breedon and Hope, are to be sold to appease competition concerns.
Reporting a 19% surge in first half pre-tax profits, to £20.9million, Breedon said it aimed to take advantage of “weakening share prices of a number of leading companies” in the construction industry following the Brexit vote.
Chairman Peter Tom added: “We believe that market uncertainty may create further opportunities for value-creating acquisitions and we are currently considering a number of potential bolt-ons”
Breedon’s revenue grew to £163million during the first half of 2016, from £160.5million a year ago.
The Derby-based company said its Dundee-based Scottish operations, employing about 700 people, had a slow start to the year but still contributed strongly to group sales.
Breedon currently operates 38 quarries, 17 asphalt plants, 37 ready-mixed concrete sites and two concrete block facilities north of the border.
The company also owns a 37.5% stake in Bear Scotland, which maintains trunk roads on behalf of Transport Scotland, and a majority stake in Inverness-based Alba Traffic Management.
Breedon announced its largest contract in Scotland to date earlier this year – Aberdeen city bypass work worth up to £55million for its joint-venture (JV) with Northern Irish firm Whitemountain Quarries.
“AWPR (Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route) is now drawing steady volumes from our business,” Breedon said.
It added: “We also began to supply dry stone, ready-mixed concrete and asphalt under a £10million contract with the Wills Bros/John Paul JV (involving Wills Bros Civil Engineering and John Paul Construction) for the £35million first stage of the A9 (Inverness-Perth road) dualling project.
“These two major projects have yet to peak and will ensure continuity of demand for our products over the next couple of years, underpinning our performance in Scotland.”