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Dean & Dyball looks for £200m turnover

FINANCE - Preparation for framework deals eat into profits but D&D confident of better year

DEAN & Dyball is aiming to turn over £200 million this year as major frameworks start to come on stream.

The Hampshire-based contractor pushed turnover up £13 million to £168 million in the year to September 2004 but gearing up for the frameworks saw pre-tax profits fall £152,000 to £2.5 million.

Chief executive Adrian Dyball said: 'Profits were a bit flatter than we would have expected.The reason was that we picked up a number of frameworks and they required a certain amount of investment but we didn't get as much work through as we expected.We expect that work to come through this year.'

Dean & Dyball picked up a five-year framework with Thames Water under the AMP 4 spending round and extended a minor maintenance deal with Network Rail.

The family-controlled firm also set up at Liskeard in Cornwall and Bagshot in Surrey and expanded offices opened two years ago in Stevenage and Bristol.

Mr Dyball added: 'At some stage we will look to further geographic expansion but at the moment I want to see the workload coming through from our existing offices.'

Over the current year, the firm expects to bring in £100 million of building work with £75 million of turnover coming from the general civils sector and another £25 million from the rail industry.

Cash balances at Dean & Dyball rose to £12.7 million from £10.5 million but operating profits came in at £2 million last year - down from £2.7 million in 2003.This gave the firm an operating margin of 1.2 per cent and a gross margin of 1.5 per cent.

Mr Dyball said: 'We see strong growth in rail and we expect the water companies to be a big part of our civils work.

'Our plan is to maintain the steady growth so far achieved in our core activities of regional contracting, rail infrastructure services and commercial property development.

'Our target is £200 million this year and we expect to keep the profit margin up while we're growing.'

The workforce at Dean & Dyball remained static at around 1,000 staff last year but the wage bill still rose £2.2 million to £32 million.