Building contractor Galliford Try Partnerships North is back in the black after taking advantage of a burgeoning housing market to more than treble turnover to £27.7m.
The Newcastle-based business is currently working with most of the affordable housing providers in the North East, on lengthy projects which have triggered soaring sales as well as large investments in staff.
Latest accounts for the year ended June 30 2014 show the firm has grown revenues from £8.08m to £27.7m, having generated a substantially increased order book during the year.
More importantly, the firm is back in the black, reporting a small operating profit of £178,000, compared to the previous 12 months’ loss of £1.04m.
While the order book is bulging – the firm on track to grow turnover past £42m in 2015/16 – the increasing workload is giving managing director Stephen McCoy new challenges, including forward-planning to get the bricks in for projects.
He said: “The workload we have got in the next financial year pretty much means we’re fully secured.
“The profit figure in the current accounts may sound small, but that’s where we expected to be, and we anticipate it will continue to rise.
“The real challenge we have is in terms of the North East market. The market is buoyant, but you have to secure the supply chain around that.
“So we’re doing a lot of work in securing that supply chain, working with the contractors and physically going into their businesses to talk to them and give them forward visibility so they know what’s coming up.
“We try to negotiate schemes with these contractors and listen to what their issues are, to make sure projects move smoothly.
“Getting the right skilled people, and the bricks and blocks, can be difficult too.
“We have to order bricks and blocks a year in advance to book the space in the factories and that’s a challenge we’ve never had to face before.”
Part of the Galliford Try group, the firm took on nine new members of staff in the accounts period, taking headcount to 81, but since then Mr McCoy said huge new investments have been made in staff as the firm seeks to keep up with contract wins.
“We’ve gone up substantially and now have around 150 people – and we’ve invested in graduates too, so around 20% of the team are graduate trainees.”
The firm is predominantly involved in three build areas – extra care housing, private housing and affordable housing in partnerships with major RPs (registered providers) – all of which have seen a rise in demand.
Work is ongoing with Home Group, ISOS, Thirteen, Linden Homes and Coast and Country across the region.
The team are working on the Gateshead Evolution joint venture which is due to deliver 2,400 homes over a 20-year period, a three-year Coast and Country project in Redcar for 224 units and a Morpeth 375-home development.
The firm is also currently on site in Saltwell, Gateshead, where 100 homes will be built for Linden Homes on its Trilogy development, and in Birtley where 197 homes will be built for the firm’s Sycamores development.
Mr McCoy said the amount of work is ultimately driving up turnover which he expects to reach £40m by the end of this June, and will increase past the £42.5m mark in the year ahead.
He added: “I’m as positive as I can be over the next few years. A lot of these projects are long term and Galliford Try Partnerships is the fastest growing part of the group right now.”