Billington cheers record revenues and strong trading

Billington is supplying steel for a new manufacturing and storage facility for the Boeing site in Sheffield
Billington is supplying steel for a new manufacturing and storage facility for the Boeing site in Sheffield
0
Have your say

Structural steel firm Billington Holdings has reported a strong start to 2019 with a robust forward order book and solid pipeline of potential new orders.

The Barnsley-based firm reported record revenues of £77m for 2018 and said the level of secured work it is taking forward into 2019 is unprecedented and ensures that it can look to the future with optimism.

The group was knocked back by the collapse of Carillion in the first half, but managed to bounce back.

Billington's chief executive Mark Smith said: "The Carillion impact affected us in the first and second quarters of 2018.

"It gave us a little bit of a hiccup, but we are over that. It made the first half look a little bit soft, but that recovered in the second half."

The group said the uncertainty around Brexit has made planning very difficult.

"We are continually frustrated by reviewing the potential risks of a deal or a no-deal Brexit," said Mr Smith.

"We have spent money on putting in tangible measures against a no-deal Brexit.

"One of the issues we have is that it's unclear, given a no-deal Brexit, the situation with CE marking in our industry. CE marking in the UK in a no-deal scenario will become UK marking. In a no-deal scenario, it will not be recognised by the European Union despite the fact it's exactly the same standard."

CE marking governs the quality controls and measures that Billington has to put in place to make sure all of its products meet with EU requirements.

"In a no-deal scenario, we're going to end up with a situation where the CE mark just flips to a UK mark, but the European Union doesn't recognise it so we've had to put in the measures to be re-certificated," said Mr Smith

"We will maintain not only UK marking, but CE marking as well. That will still enable us to supply structural steel work to the European market as we are currently in mid contract on a sizeable data centre in Belgium."

Billington is supplying structural steel for four new studios at Pinewood Studios, rumoured to be the home for the remake of The Great Expectations film.

It is also supplying steel for a new manufacturing and storage facility for the Boeing site in Sheffield.

Billington's finance director Trevor Taylor said the facility will have a very complex roof design.

"We are very proud of that. It's designed to look like an aeroplane wing," he said.

Pre-tax profit rose 11 per cent to £5m in the year to December 31 and the dividend was raised 13 per cent to 13p a share.

Analyst John Cummins at WH Ireland said: "Notwithstanding Brexit uncertainty and cost input pressures, Billington characterises the strength of its forward order book as ‘unprecedented’, with each of the group’s businesses reported to be strong.

"We upgrade our 2019 pre-tax profit estimate by 13 per cent to £5.2m."