The Westminster attack earlier this week has raised awareness of the vital role that barriers and other street furniture can play in preventing terrorist attacks.
Paving and street furniture specialist Marshalls said this is a rapidly growing area for the firm as it reported strong half year results.
Talking about the incident outside the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday, Marshalls’ chief executive Martyn Coffey said: “That barrier stopped the vehicle completely.
“People are very interested in protection furniture. It’s a growing part of the business.”
Marshalls has focused more on terrorist prevention furniture that blends into the background, such as seaters or planters, rather than barriers.
The group’s street furniture has steel rods enforced with concrete.
“If a vehicle hits it, it’s like hitting a brick wall,” said Mr Coffey.
“Sports stadiums are investing in this areas and we think it will carry on growing.”
Marshalls reported strong half year results despite the impact of severe weather conditions earlier this year when the Beast from the East snowfall hit trading.
The Elland-based firm said revenue rose 12 per cent to £244m in the six months to June 30 and pre-tax profits also rose 12 per cent to £32.5m.
The group said recent trading has been very strong with revenue up 21 per cent in both June and July.
Mr Coffey said: “The group continues to outperform the Construction Products Association’s growth figures, despite ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty.
“The CPA’s recent Summer Forecast predicts a decrease in UK market volumes of 0.6 per cent in 2018, followed by an increase of 2.3 per cent in 2019, while the underlying indicators in the New Build Housing, Road, Rail and Water Management markets remains supportive.”
He said the group’s self help programme to support organic growth is progressing well and the integration of CPM Group is on track with post acquisition trading showing strong growth.
“The board believes that Marshalls’ innovative product range and strong market positions mean the group is well placed to deliver continued future growth,” he added.
“The board remains confident of achieving its expectations for 2018.”
The group said its strong results were achieved despite the severe weather conditions in the first four months of the year, which resulted in a £9m reduction in sales.
Mr Coffey said that despite wider political and economic uncertainty, the underlying indicators remain positive.
“In terms of Brexit, 95 per cent of what we sell is to the UK and most of the materials are UK,” he said.
“The main impact would be confidence. Our customer tend to be 55 plus. They are homeowners and have pensions and savings.”
Sales to the Domestic market, which represent 31 per cent of group sales, were significantly impacted by the severe weather. Despite this, results were in line with the year before, reflecting strong growth either side of the bad weather period.
The survey of domestic installers at the end of June shows strong order books of 11.3 weeks.
Sales to the Public Sector and Commercial market, which represent 64 per cent of group sales, rose 19 per cent.
Mr Coffey said CPM, which was acquired in October, has traded strongly and its integration is in line with expectations and well advanced.
“The group continues to target those parts of the market where higher levels of growth are anticipated including New Build Housing, Road, Rail and Water Management,” he added.
Sales in the International business rose 1 per cent and represented 5 per cent of group sales.
Marshalls has declared an interim dividend of 4p per share, an increase of 18 per cent, reflecting the strong cash generation and the group’s progressive dividend policy.
Analyst Chris Millington at Numis said: “Marshalls’ interim results show the group has continued to show double digit profit growth and a strong underlying performance despite the weather headwinds in the first quarter.
“With Marshalls posting revenue growth of 21 per cent in June/July, the outlook for the second half looks positive and we think the risk to estimates continues to lie on the upside.”