The biggest talking point in this year’s top 10 concrete contractors is the demise of John Doyle, ninth in last year’s table.
The top three remain the same, but Masterson climbs to fourth due to the biggest rise in turnover among the top 10, after taking a £17 million hit the year before.
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Laing O’Rourke subsidiary Expanded Structures has dropped out of the list this year, after turnover plummeted by 82.1 per cent, despite the firm having held the top spot just two years ago.
The Mineral Products Association has reported sales volumes of ready-mixed concrete have dropped 12 per cent in the first half of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011.
Q2 2012 sales volumes fell 13 per cent, while corresponding declines in construction activity that led to the lowest quarterly output figures since 2009 in Q2 have piled on the gloom.
MPA director for economics and public affairs Jerry McLaughlin said it is “no surprise that concrete contractors are struggling” and called for lower value schemes to be supported.
“There is a misconception that all infrastructure projects are major schemes with long lead times, but they are not,” he says. “Eighty per cent of infrastructure orders recorded in recent years have been valued at less than £2m.
“Such smaller-scale jobs could be progressed quickly if funding was available, for example to help much-needed improvements in the quality of local transport networks.”
Total concrete sales in 2011 were skewed by a huge reliance on London and the South-east.
MPA figures show that while ready-mixed concrete sales were up 7 per cent in 2011, demand in London increased by 44 per cent and in the South-east by 24 per cent, with an underlying decline in sales across the rest of the UK of 3 per cent.
Doyle’s experience was that between March 2011 and 2012 its funding needs doubled to £16m as suppliers demanded shorter credit terms while customers delayed payments to the group.
This trend is unlikely to cease in the short term, meaning an anxious 12 months ahead for many in the sector.