Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Allen leaps £100m barrier for first half

A SPATE of acquisitions has catapulted contracting and tool hire specialist Allen through the £100 million barrier in the first half.

Pre-tax profits leapt 51 per cent to £7.13 million as Allen managed to find turnover growth while keeping margins high.

A first full contribution from Keithley-based building contractor P S Turner, bought last May for £9 million, helped lift Allen group turnover 78 per cent to £127 million.

Managing director Ken Fox said Allen was now concentrating on integrating P S Turner into its group, rather than aiming for further big building firm acquisitions.

But he added that Allen still had plans to spend up to £5 million on expanding its network of Speedy hire centres, which are achieving among the highest margins in the sector.

Profits at the hire division advanced 43 per cent to £4 million on turnover of £25 million - up 29 per cent.

In future, Allen will be looking for the bulk of any further growth in turnover to come from its building contracting arm.

The building division has £102 million-worth of work in hand, compared with £29.5 million in the same period last year.

Turnover at the division in the six months to the end of September trebled to £63.3 million, pushing forward operating profits to £1.78 million.

Mr Fox said the group had managed to bring Turner's margins into line with the 2.9 per cent achieved by the rest of the building division.

But the accompanying shift towards bigger building contracts, typically around £3 million, as a result of buying Turner has taken Allen into higher risk contractor finance jobs.

Turnover and profits improved at the civil engineering division, thanks to a strong performance by utility contracting specialist Ryan, and driven mainly by demand to repair and replace water infrastructure.

But civils contractor Pearce suffered from the downturn in road maintenance.

At the house building arm, completions rose two thirds to 277, contributing £1.5 million to overall profits, but average selling prices slipped almost £2,000 to £65,270.

Over the half year the land bank increased by nine per cent.

Gearing currently stands at 46 per cent, compared to 30 per cent a year ago.