Barrett Steel warns of steel industry challenges despite jump in profits

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Pre-tax profits at Barrett Steel climbed more than 90 per cent to £8.8m in the year to September 2014, as the construction recovery took hold.

The Bradford-headquartered group also saw 14 per cent increase in turnover to £312m, with exports up 44 per cent to £44.2m.

Margins rose from 29.9 per cent to 30.3 per cent for the year, though chairman Roy Butcher said falling steel prices had held back margin growth.

Despite its strong results, Mr Butcher warned of difficult times for the steel industry.

The group expects further growth in construction despite a recent slowdown, Mr Butcher said, but global challenges are likely to put pressure on the market.

He said: “Whilst there have been positive signs in the UK both in demand and general economic improvement, the need for growth in the global economy remains the key factor for sustainable profitability for the worldwide steel industry.

“For producers, the current forecast of over capacity, lower commodity prices and higher energy costs offers little comfort.”

Barrett Steel was founded in Bradford in 1866 and claims to be the UK’s largest independent steel stockholders.

It now comprises 43 companies across 31 locations, with divisions covering general steels, engineering steels, tubes and energy products.