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Doyle warns on trading

Fit-out and concrete contractor John Doyle has said it expects tough trading conditions next year and in 2010.

Chairman Stef Stefanou said the firm, which last week renamed itself Doyle Plc – although it is keeping the John Doyle Construction marquee of its concrete business –would only grow at a “cautious rate” during this period.

Mr Stefanou was speaking as the Hertfordshire contractor revealed revenues last year had grown by half to £168 million compared to the £112 million the firm posted last time.

But in the 12 months to December 2007, pre-tax profits slipped a quarter to £1.6 million.

Chief executive Rob Johnson, in a statement accompanying its results published at Companies House, said: “For 2008 the forward order book across all businesses is healthy and indicates a further positive year of growth, this being despite the background of a general downturn in the wider economy.”

Mr Johnson singled out Doyle’s fit-out business Ibex Interiors for praise and added: “Our interiors business in 2007 performed extremely well and is a credit to the entire management team who year on year take the business forward.”

The average number of people employed by the group dropped 30 per cent last year to just under 500 from 711 last time. This saw more than half its site workers leave the business. But despite the fall, Doyle’s payroll actually went up by £4.6 million to £23 million.

It said that it has cut the amount of time it takes to pay suppliers by six days to 49 days.

The salary of the highest paid director, who is not named, went up by close to 50 per cent to end up at £244,000.