Redhall aiming to pick up orders for Crossrail project

An excavators with an articulated boom, in one of the Crossrail tunnels under construction 35 metres below the streets of Whitechapel, east London
An excavators with an articulated boom, in one of the Crossrail tunnels under construction 35 metres below the streets of Whitechapel, east London
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ENGINEERING firm Redhall Group is hoping to win its first orders for Crossrail, Europe’s largest railway and infrastructure construction project, later this year.

The Wakefield-based firm said there is a potential for £12m of orders for the 73-mile railway line that will link London with Essex, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

Redhall’s chief executive Richard Shuttleworth said the firm will pitch for contracts to supply all the doors needed in tunnels and stations along the 73-mile track.

Redhall’s Booths division makes doors that can withstand blasts, fire and pressure and provide escape routes in case of emergency.

It also supplies security doors for ticket offices in stations.

“The architect has used Booths doors in the plans,” said Mr Shuttleworth. “We expect to hear about the contracts in the autumn.”

He was speaking yesterday as the group announced annual results for the year to September 30.

Redhall made a pre-tax profit of £1.1m before £10.9m of exceptional items following an exceptional charge of £7.7m to cover the cost of the Vivergo Fuels settlement.

Last week, Redhall announced it had accepted a lower than expected settlement offer of £2.1m from Vivergo, but analysts welcomed the deal saying it would close the matter.

Redhall said the £2.1m full and final settlement of all claims fell considerably short of the amount the board believed was recoverable, but the group decided that further legal proceedings would have been a long and drawn out process and the outcome and legal costs would have been uncertain. There will be an exceptional charge of £7.7m before tax and legal and professional costs incurred in reaching the settlement.

The case dates back to Vivergo’s decision to terminate Redhall’s work at a new biofuels plant at Saltend in 2011 following delays.

The exceptional items resulted in an overall pre-tax loss of £9.8m, more than double the £4.7m loss reported the year before.

Revenues fell from £120m to £113m.

Chairman David Jackson said: “The Vivergo settlement is highly significant for Redhall. It draws a line under the long-running legal case removing uncertainty and further cost.”

Sales rose 1.4 per cent to £54.9m in the group’s engineering division, which covers oil and gas, petrochemical, chemical, pharmaceutical, telecoms and food clients.

Redhall said the industrial side of the business was still challenging with customer budgets coming under increasing pressure.

The group has completed a number of projects for Centrica, Nestle, Kelloggs and BOC.

In the nuclear division, sales fell 13 per cent to £32m following a 30 per cent downturn in work value from key framework contracts in its decommissioning and waste management and defence units.

The group said sales at its manufacturing division fell 8.4 per cent to £26.2m.

Mr Jackson said: “Our manufacturing operations are, to some extent, impacted by the issues faced by the nuclear division, although the manufacturing division enjoys a more diverse customer base and we are seeking to broaden and expand this customer base yet further.”

Mr Shuttleworth said the group is aiming for good organic growth in the business in 2014.

“The bank has been very supportive of our plans and we’ve got relationships with the key customers,” he said.

“We’re ideally placed to get on that organic growth trajectory over the next two years.

“We hope in this time to raise cash for acquisitions.”

Analyst Andy Smith, at Charles Stanley, said: “Redhall is now significantly better positioned to benefit from improved market conditions.

“This follows the completion of a restructuring programme, encouraging visibility, a stable order book and the stabilisation of the balance sheet.”