Revenue surges by 11pc for Portakabin’s parent

Alan Fletcher
Alan Fletcher
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Portakabin’s parent company Shepherd Group reported an 11 per cent jump in annual revenue to £748m, making it Yorkshire’s second biggest family-owned business behind JCT.

The York-based firm said all three of its divisions, Shepherd Group Built Environment, Shepherd Group Engineering and Portakabin Group, increased turnover in the year to June 30 despite a background of prolonged global economic uncertainty.

But following the decision to exit the loss-making Homeseeker business, which made an operating loss of £2.1m in the year, operating profit from continuing operations fell from £25m to £16m.

The disposal had a one-off impact of £3.7m on group profits.

The company’s chairman, Alan Fletcher, said: “Despite the challenges that contributed to lower profit performance in the year, the board remains confident in the execution of its strategy which focuses on improving the quality and mix of group earnings, with each division taking actions to broaden their markets in sectors with attractive margins.”

The company said Portakabin posted turnover and gross margin consistent with the previous year in a market struggling for volume and without the benefit of the London Olympics.

Recent research and development, focusing on a new product called Yorkon Building Systems, is expected to boost the division’s future performance.

The group said that Carr Manor School in Leeds, the first project to use the new product, opened 
on time and on budget in September.

Portakabin said it delivered 99.7 per cent of projects on time and on budget in the past year and in every year since 2003.

The firm said that its Shepherd Group Built Environment business completed a complex restructuring of the divisional professional services team.

It said that a strong focus on quality of earnings, management data and controls and strategic positioning led to a 15 per cent increase in profits.

Shepherd Construction grew revenues on a number of key contracts. The company said that market-leading projects in the energy/power and infrastructure sectors, such as its award winning NAREC and the on-going Drax developments, underpin a focus on complex technical projects.

Mr Fletcher said earnings grew significantly at Shepherd Engineering Services following strong growth in 2012.

The third division, Shepherd Group Engineering was established last year from the Portastor and Portasilo businesses.

“Despite a very challenging start, the business has strong potential and the prospect of delivering higher margin, international engineering projects into growth sectors remains attractive,” said Mr Fletcher.

The group said it had retained its no-debt position and had net cash of £111m at the year end.