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Murphy Group 2014 results blame single problem job for £9.1m loss

Murphy Group has posted a £9.1m loss for 2014, with the company blaming the downturn on “a single major project”.

The loss for the year to 31 December 2014 contrasts with a profit of £34.7m in 2013.

The firm said difficulties with design, cost escalation, supply chain and engine-related technical breakdowns at its Beckton CHP scheme were behind the loss, which “overshadowed what was an otherwise satisfactory outcome in the UK business”.

The £70m Beckton project for client 2OC was awarded in April 2013.

Turnover for 2014 fell to £780.5m, down from £953.8m the previous year.

Murphy attributed this decline to a “reduction in revenue from MPC Australia”, adding that the division’s previous performance in 2013 had represented “an exceptional year which saw growth of over £200m”.

The firm added that turnover for the UK and Ireland business was “broadly similar” to 2013, standing at £655.9m in 2014 compared with £663.9m the previous year.

The UK market remained “highly competitve”, Murphy said, adding that it will continue to focus its attention on “attractive and growth-oriented sectors” including rail, power and tunnels.

In Canada, the firm has formed a 50:50 joint venture with Surerus Pipelines, which Murphy said would help the company “access major emerging opportunities in gas pipelines”.

Murphy recently formed a joint venture with Spanish contractor FCC and Laing O’Rourke, known as LFM, to bid on work for High Speed 2.

Elsewhere, staff numbers at the company grew 8.3 per cent to 4,278 this year from 3,951 in 2013.

Staff costs were up 27.4 per cent compared with a year earlier to hit £249.5m in 2014 from £195.8m in 2013.

Murphy’s CEO John Stack stepped down from the company in September 2014 and was replaced by Steve Hollingshead (pictured) in April this year.

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