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Exclusive: Specialist contractors' revenues hit £8bn as profit grows

Combined revenue for the UK’s leading specialist contractors has hit nearly £8bn, Construction News can reveal.

Data from the CN Specialists Index 2016 shows that the combined revenue of 70 contractors across seven different sectors hit £7.99bn this year, up from £7.30bn a year earlier.

The top 10 demolition firms saw the largest increase, with combined revenues rising by 27.4 per cent to reach £727m, up from £570.8m last year.

Demolition also led the way on profit and profit margins, with the top 10 firms reporting an average pre-tax profit margin of 7.1 per cent, while the top 10 scaffolding contractors saw an average pre-tax margin of 4.8 per cent.

Three other sectors – concrete (16.6 per cent), building envelope (13.7 per cent) and steel (12.4 per cent) – saw double-digit increases in top 10 revenue over their latest financial year.

Seven of the top 10 demolition firms recorded double-digit turnover growth, with Erith (42.9 per cent) and John F Hunt (43.3 per cent) leading the way.

Similarly, seven of the 10 leading building envelope contractors saw revenue grow by more than 10 per cent, with FK Group boosting revenues by 52.3 per cent, while Mac Roofing increased its turnover by 47.1 per cent to enter the top 10 building envelope firms for the first time.

Other newcomers to the top 10 specialists include Aspin Group and Hydrock, both new entries to the ground engineering top 10 in ninth and 10th respectively; PP O’Connor, which was a new demolition entry at 10th; and GKR Scaffolding, which entered the scaffolding top 10 in ninth with a turnover of £20.8m.

Revenues grew at a slower rate in scaffolding (4.6 per cent) and ground engineering (1.8 per cent), while mechanical & electrical grew by 2.2 per cent.

Average profit margins were lowest in concrete at 0.7 per cent, although this was dragged down significantly by troubled PC Harrington’s £14.2m loss and profit margin of -19.5 per cent.

Both building envelope and ground engineering saw average pre-tax margins of 3.5 per cent.

Companies to drop out of their respective top 10s this year included scaffolder Brogan Group, pushed out by new entry GKR Scaffolding, and Dawson Wam, which was pushed out of the ground engineering top 10 by two new entries.

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