TURNOVER at construction to energy from waste firm Clugston Group leapt to its highest level in its 78 year history following strong demand for the group’s niche services.
Turnover rose nine per cent to £252.9m in the year to January 31, boosted by a strong performance at its construction and logistics divisions.
Pre-tax profits fell from £6.3m to £3.3m and the firm blamed this on the competitive nature of the market and the rising cost of materials.
Clugston’s chief executive Stephen Martin said: “We are winning more work and we’re specialising in certain markets. We’re focusing on what we’re good at.”
The group has built up a reputation in the renewables sector including energy from waste and biomass plants.
One of its biggest projects is an energy recovery facility in Leeds at Cross Green industrial estate, which will be able to process up to 215,000 tonnes of black bin waste a year, saving around £200m over 25 years compared with sending this waste to landfill.
The main part of the facility, which is due to be completed in the middle of next year, will be a wooden-framed and glazed structure which will eventually become a living green wall covered in plants and will be the tallest timbre frame structure in Europe.
The building will be 42 metres in height, 125 metres long and 35 metres wide and will feature a glass walkway and visitor centre.
Rubbish from household black bins across the city will arrive at a waste reception and mechanical pre-treatment building where it will be sorted. Here, any items that can be recycled will be removed.
Energy generated by the processes will be enough to power around 20,000 homes a year, supplying 15 MW of renewable energy for the grid.
Turnover at the construction division rose five per cent to £143.3m, the fourth consecutive year of growth.
This was led by increased activity in its core energy from waste market.
The construction division also stepped up production levels in the education sector completing a number of school, college and university projects.
It has started work on the £10m Humber University Technical College, one of a new wave of state-funded schools designed to increase vocational skills.
The college will specialise in teaching engineering and renewable energy subjects, an area close to the group’s heart, to 14 to 19 year olds.
Clugston said its recently established West Midlands office has secured a number of key contracts including a new facility for Birmingham Dogs Home and a retail scheme in Cannock.
Turnover at the group’s logistics division rose 16 per cent to £15.3m – the highest level for the business in over a decade.
The group invested over £2m in its fleet in the latter half of 2014, including the introduction of 15 low emission and fuel-efficient tractor units.
Growth is focused on diversifying into new markets such as petroleum and food.
“We are expanding in petroleum, transporting petrol for the Humber Terminals to garages and forecourt operators,” said Mr Martin.
“We also transport home heating oil.”
Mr Martin said the group has not seen any impact from the decline in energy markets.
“We are putting in fuel efficient vehicles. We’re a small, niche player and we’re picking up market share,” he said.
The group said its steel and cement market remained steady.
Clugston’s property division reported an upturn in a number of its key sectors.