GMI Construction increases turnover in depressed market

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BUILDING group GMI Construction has posted a 78 per cent rise in turnover despite operating within a “severely depressed” market.

The Leeds-based group, which is behind Rotherham United’s new 12,000-capacity stadium, increased turnover to £58.2m in the year to September 30, 2011, up from £32.7m the previous year.

Pre-tax profit also rose to £5.7m from £1.6m.

During the property boom, GMI had a turnover in excess of £100m.

The company is currently working on a number of projects in the region, including the new £7.5m engineering block at Kirklees College in Huddersfield, and Langwith College at York University.

The directors’ report, filed with the group’s accounts at Companies House, said: “GMI Construction Group continues to operate within a severely depressed and exceptionally competitive market.

“Growth in the UK construction industry is expected to be minimal for at least the next 12 months. However, despite the challenging economic conditions, the directors remain optimistic about the future.

GMI Construction Group was profitable during 2011 and with a healthy order book of secured work, GMI is forecasting continued profitability in 2012.”

It added: “With cash at bank of £9.53m and no external borrowings in any group company, GMI Construction Group remains a strong financial performer in a high risk industry.”

Last April, GMI won its appeal against a major fine it had been given after being accused of rigging bids for contracts.

The firm was originally fined £1.8m by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in 2009 as part of a wider decision to hit more than 100 construction companies with a total of £129m of penalties.

The OFT said the firms, following a Competition Act investigation, had colluded among themselves while bidding for contracts, leading to customers, such as local authorities, having to pay too much.

Last November, the Competition Appeals Tribunal said the company should have an order in its favour for the costs of its appeal but that the amount awarded should depend on a “detailed assessment” by a costs judge of the Senior Court.

GMI’s recently-completed projects include the redevelopment of Broadacre House in Bradford into a 118-bed Premier Inn for Gregory Property Group.

The firm also completed a new 62-bedroom Travelodge on Leeds Road in Huddersfield in December, undertaking the role of architect as well as the main contractor.

The new building is the latest to be constructed on the Spindlegate mixed-use development, which was formerly the site of James Robinson chemicals.

Last month, Kirklees Council and GMI Construction celebrated the completion of the highest point of construction at Kirklees College’s new engineering centre.

The centre will open to students in September 2012 and will host specialist engineering and motor vehicle courses.

It is also the main contractor on Langwith College at York University, which comprises eight accommodation blocks with a capacity of 650 beds.

Meanwhile, Rotherham United’s future home, the £17m New York Stadium, is also nearing completion.

It occupies a central position in Rotherham town centre, on the site of the former Guest and Chrimes foundry.

The formal opening of the New York Stadium is planned for July.

The name came about because the stadium is said to be placed in an area of Rotherham which manufactured fire hydrants for New York City.

In addition, GMI has launched a new business which specialises in renewable energy installations for commercial properties.

GMI Renewable Energy, which was launched last August, completed a roof-mounted system at Pavers Shoes’ office and distribution centre in York, and the largest Solyndra system in the UK on the Clarence Dock car park in Leeds.

GMI Construction, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, was founded in 1986 as a building contractor.

Over the years the business has grown steadily and is now one of the largest privately owned construction companies in Yorkshire.

Looking to the future, GMI’s directors’ report said: “The healthy financial position of the group will keep it in an advantageous position and allow it to continue taking full advantage of the many opportunities that may arise during the economic downturn.”