Gus Robinson Developments on track for £20m turnover

Major changes, tough decisions and strategic appointments see construction firm Gus Robinson turn its fortunes around

Dan Robinson, chairman of Gus Robinson Developments
Dan Robinson, chairman of Gus Robinson Developments

A North East construction firm is on course to hit the £20m turnover mark, just four years after it was left facing an uncertain future.

The Hartlepool-based Gus Robinson Developments Ltd posted revenues of just £5m in the 2011/12 financial year, after the death of the firm’s figurehead, Gus Robinson.

At that point, Mr Robinson’s son Dan, then based in the US, returned home and, taking over at the helm, faced some tough decisions to prevent the business from going under.

By 2013/2014, turnover had risen to £11m and Mr Robinson is confident the company will almost double that figure this year.

“When dad died, I remember being on the plane on the way back from America wondering how I was going to lead the team through some very difficult times,” he said.

“I arrived back into the UK the following morning and immediately got to work on the transformation that same day.

“It was tough. When I looked at the business, we were poorly positioned to face the global financial crisis and the inevitable impact on the construction industry. When everything collapsed, we suffered badly.

“The whole business needed restructuring and strategically, we needed to reposition the company.”

Recognising that he had to act with “decisive leadership”, Mr Robinson imposed numerous changes - including some “painful decisions” - at the business, which began to turn around after it won a £1.7m contract for a redevelopment at Monmouth Grove in Hartlepool. Momentum built as the firm enjoyed another £2.2m win for work at the town’s Crown House.

More recently, a key factor behind its rapid growth has been the appointment of Steve Bell, as land and development director towards the end of 2013.

With 20 years experience in the industry, Mr Bell has taken a direct role in expanding the business while Mr Robinson concentrates more on strategic leadership and management.

“After the initial shock of taking the business off its knees, it became apparent that £20m was achievable,” Mr Robinson said.

“When we look ahead, our strategy is now based on a £40m turnover. Our overall philosophy is to always place an emphasis on the long-term value rather than any short-term gain.”

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