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Byrne ups volumes as Chorus turns around

FINANCE - Contractor aims to raise turnover to £200 million within the next three years

CHORUS has broken back into the black after sinking into the red last year when the fitout contractor was bought out by Byrne Group.

In the year to May 2005, Byrne Group raised operating profits by £391,369 to just under £5 million but this increase was wiped out by the £433,669 cost of buying Chorus.

Chorus managing director Andrew Heaver said: 'We're into profit again but it's not just about going for profit.

'We are getting the structure and the people right. Our aim is to raise turnover this year to about £55 million.

The firm has recently won a number of major jobs, including a £15 million fit-out of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in central London and a £24 million deal for upmarket grocer Fortnum & Mason.

Overall, Byrne, which employs more than 460 people, raised turnover £19.9 million to £147.8 million but pretax profits sank £153,304 to £4.7 million.

The group's other subsidiaries include concrete frame contractor Byrne Brothers and building outfit Ellmer, whose boss is director Michael Byrne.

He said: 'As a group, we want to raise turnover to £200 million in the next three years.

'At Ellmer, we turned over £36 million and we've already matched that this year even though we had a few jobs cancelled. In three years time, we hope to be turning over around £60 million.' Ellmer works for other main contractors such as Bovis Lend Lease, Mace and Sir Robert McAlpine and private clients including Capital Shopping Centres.

Around 80 per cent of Ellmer's workload is repeat business and the average job size in recent years has been between £1 million and £3 million, but is now closer to £5 million.