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Van Elle in negotiations to buy 'several companies' following stock market float

Ground engineering specialist Van Elle is in talks to buy “several companies”, Construction News can reveal.

Van Elle chief executive Jon Fenton this morning said the firm had identified several companies it was interested in acquiring – and was already in early-stage negotiations with those businesses.

Mr Fenton said: “We are looking at businesses that can supplement the techniques we do and also give us a stronger geographical presence.”

The comments came after Van Elle posted its first set of results since Construction News revealed in October last year that the firm was to float.

Van Elle posted pre-tax profit of £3.2m for the six months to 31 October 2016, down from £5.2m in the same period last year.

Operating profit, before exceptional costs of £1.5m from the initial public offering, decreased to £4.9m, down 8.1 per cent year on year.

Revenue grew from £40.1m to £43.1m over the same period.

Van Elle finance director Paul Pearson told Construction News that despite the profit dip, he was confident the second half of the year would see the firm increase profit for the seventh full year in a row.

Mr Pearson said: “Our turnover is usually weighted in the second half of the year, due to the Christmas and Easter rail work we do.

“The turnover is stronger and more weighted to the second half and the profit is a lot more pronounced due to the work that is done in unsociable hours during the Easter and Christmas periods with Network Rail.”

The firm said it had already carried out two large rail projects and had also had enquiries across the country from rail contractors on both small and large schemes to be carried out in the second half of the year.

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