Henry Boot reported a half year loss of £20.3 million after being hit by £23.6 million in property writedowns and a 44 per cent drop in turnover.
Sheffield-based Henry Boot reported a pre-tax loss of £20.3 million for the six months to 30 June 2009 compared to a profit of £20.4 million for the same period last year.
But the firm, which carries out property development, plant hire and construction, was forced to writedown its property portfolio from around £142 million in December to around £118.5 million.
Without the hit Henry Boot traded profitably over the past six months despite half year turnover dropping 44 per cent to £67 million from £119.3 million last year.
The firm’s construction business was the strongest performer over the last six months. Henry Boot is working closely with Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham councils on the Decent Homes scheme having completed over 3,000 home improvements over the last year.
The firm’s PFI contract to carry out works on the A69 between Carlisle and Newcastle has also provided a steady income stream.
And finance director John Sutcliffe said the firm was just starting to see glimmers of optimism in the housebuilding sector, but he expects the recovery to be slow and steady.
“It is a case of working your socks off,” he said. “It is about winning as much work as we can.”
Henry Boot chairman John Reis added: “There are now indications that we are reaching the bottom of the recessionary cycle but we believe that the recovery will be rather slow.
“In the longer term, as economic recovery takes hold, Henry Boot has a good mix of property-related businesses, which are well funded and possess opportunities that are capable of generating excellent profits as conditions in our markets improve.”