Blackfriar: Marshalls set to benefit from HS2 go ahead

Marshalls is well known for high profile projects like the paving around York Minster
Marshalls is well known for high profile projects like the paving around York Minster
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Paving and street furniture specialist Marshalls is one of those canny Yorkshire firms that makes a habit of being in the right place at the right time.

The Elland-based firm has seen strong demand for its anti-terrorist street furniture following the global outbreak of terrorist attacks in places like London, Paris, Nice and Barcelona.

Recent events have raised awareness of the vital role that barriers and other street furniture can play in preventing terrorist attacks and this is a rapidly growing area for the firm.

Marshalls has focused on terrorist prevention furniture that blends into the background, such as seaters or planters, rather than barriers, which can harm the appearance of popular tourist destinations.

The group’s latest street furniture has steel rods enforced with concrete, making it a highly effective deterrent to terrorists.

Marshalls said that if a vehicle hits this furniture, it is like hitting a brick wall.

The firm is enjoying strong sales to the Middle East, North America, mainland Europe and the UK.

Now the firm is set to benefit from the rolling out of HS2 and analyst Graeme Kyle at Shore Capital believes Marshalls will be a key beneficiary of the roll out of the high speed rail line.

He said Marshalls’ paving products will be, or have already been, specified by project architects working on HS2 stations, terminals and junctions.

Marshalls itself has said that HS2 will be a key driver of demand in the rail sector.

The project is expected to cost in excess of £100bn with trains running on phase 1 route by 2028-31 and on phase 2 routes by 2035-2040, according to Government projections.

Mr Kyle said Marshalls generates significantly higher margins on architect specified products than “off the peg” products.

The firm has around 160 employees feeding into external architects in the early stage project design phase of building and infrastructure projects.

Mr Kyle said this is a major barrier to entry for rivals and a capital and time commitment that is rewarded through higher product pricing.

He also thinks that Marshalls’ CPM business has the potential to supply concrete water management systems to complex sections of the HS2 phase 1 route, such as Delta Junction, Birmingham Spur and Long Itchington Tunnel.

Mr Kyle said HS2 will demonstrate the revenue synergies between CPM and Marshalls’ core products and he expects the project to be supportive for Marshalls’ margin growth strategy in the next five to 10 years.

Further out, the proposed HS3 (Northern Powerhouse) rail project, which will be designed to integrate seamlessly into the HS2 network, will create further, ongoing demand for Marshalls products which will be positive for its long term margin development.

Marshalls has managed to defy the economic uncertainties over the past decade by making sure it is a step ahead of the market.

It has maintained strong sales in the domestic market, tapping into wealthy pensioners who are keen to update their homes, whilst also maintaining strong links with the public sector.

It has also taken on high profile projects like the paving around York Minster and Trafalgar Square in the heart of London.

Marshalls' HS2 planning, like its anti-terrorist street furniture, reflects the strength of the management at this highly successful Yorkshire firm.