Renew set for opportunities at the Houses of Parliament

Engineering services group Renew Holdings '‹said its work on '‹'‹the '‹'‹cast iron roof restoration'‹ a'‹t the Palace of Westminster is progressing well '‹and '‹it is well placed for major opportunities at the UNESCO World Heritage site.'‹

Renews chief executive Paul Scott

The Leeds-based firm is also working on the Courtyard​ ​Conservation Framework​ as part of a significant renovation programme at the Houses of Parliament​.

Renew’s chief executive Paul Scott said: “We are doing a major piece of work renewing the cast iron roofs which will go on for a number of years.

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“We are taking off the roof fabric and restoring it in South Yorkshire. It then goes back to London and is re-installed. We have a highly skilled team.”

Renew has expanded its responsibilities in the parliamentary estate and is now working on the courtyard.

“They are favouring moving out as the place as it is in a state of disrepair and they have a major campaign to properly restore it,” said Mr Scott.

“You have a to have a good reputation to work on a UNESCO site. We are delighted with the progress we’re making.”

He was speaking as the group reported interim results which showed a steep fall in pre-tax profits in the six months to March 31 after the group took a hit on the sale of its loss-making Forefront gas business.​

Renew’s finance director Sean Wyndham-Quin said: “Our adjusted operating profit is flat at £12.9m. The statutory profit is down, but that’s almost entirely related to the sale of the gas business. We took a near £10m hit on the gas business. It was loss-making and chewing up a lot of cash. We’ve stopped the rot.”

Pre-tax profit before exceptionals was £12.5m, but after the gas business hit, it fell to £2m, down from £5.6m the previous half year.

The group said its recent £80m acquisition of leading Scottish railway contractor QTS Group is bedding down well.

Mr Scott said: “It’s early days, but we are pretty delighted. Our due diligence examination was thorough. We understand the dynamics of the UK rail market.

“We will put our arms around QTS and allow it to flourish.”

Renew said QTS is an excellent fit with its established and proven acquisition strategy.

QTS has a longstanding relationship with Network Rail, operating under long-term framework positions, and Renew said it is well positioned for Control Period 6 where Network Rail’s spending will focus on renewal and maintenance.

Analysts welcomed Renew’s interim results.

Howard Seymour at Numis said: “Interim results obviously do not include any contribution from the recently announced QTS acquisition, though it is comforting that rail-related working capital flows are being recovered in line with expectations and that management confidence about the outlook in rail remains positive.

“Elsewhere, in both Engineering Services and Specialist Building, trading is in line with expectations.

“Post QTS, the shares offer an attractive mix both in terms of rail exposure and scope to organically grow in other areas of non-discretionary infrastructure opex.”