Marshalls is to invest in “intelligent street furniture” to drive growth in 2015 following a 72 per cent leap in annual profits to £22m.
The Huddersfield-based group is working on a number of innovative ideas such as street lighting that turns off when no-one is there, pavement bins that can tell when they need emptying and bollards that can tell pedestrians where to go.
The new products could transform the lives of city dwellers and tourists while saving councils huge sums of money.
Marshalls has made a name for itself as the paving specialist behind iconic projects such as the award winning London Kings Cross railway station, the Olympic Park in London and Trinity Leeds shopping centre, but is now turning its attention to high tech projects to help build “cities of the future”.
Marshalls chief executive Martyn Coffey said the group is looking at acquisitions to boost its existing street furniture business.
“We will look at smaller businesses with turnover of £10m, £20m or £30m. They have to be profitable. I hope this year we’ll make one or two acquisitions,” he said.
He was speaking as the group reported a 17 per cent increase in revenue to £358.5m in 2014.
He said the group has started the year well, with sales up 13 per cent in January and February.
Sales to the public sector and commercial end market rose 20 per cent last year.