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Durkan UK looks to build more new homes

FINANCE Group profits rise by £2 million despite a drop in turnover to £91.8 million

PRE-TAX profits have doubled at the UK arm of Durkan, the contracting and house building group.

In the year to January 2005 Durkan lifted pre-tax profits £2 million to £3.4 million despite turnover slipping £2 million to £91.8 million as new housing starts were held up.

Chief executive Danny Durkan said: 'We've got about 600 private units in the pipeline but will only do about 50 this year, although that should be up to about 200 by 2006.'

Mr Durkan is aiming to build 250 units and turn over between £45 million and £50 million in private housing by 2010.

He said: 'We are mainly building around London but have looked in Maidstone, Milton Keynes and Cambridge.'

The firm turned over £53 million and made a pre-tax profit on building social housing for clients such as the William Sutton Trust and London & Quadrant Housing.

Mr Durkan hopes this side of the business will be turning over around £130 million in five years time.

The group's UK commercial contracting operation, Durkan Pudelek, turned over £35 million in the year to January 2005 on retail and office schemes and some schools work.

Durkan operates out of Waltham Cross in the UK and employs around 400 people.

The group also has a separate Irish operation, which employs about 50 people but turns over about £80 million a year building private housing for sale.

This business has introduced UK housing association Circle 33 to Ireland and is run by Mr Durkan's father William, who is also the chairman of the UK operation.

Danny Durkan said: 'We've always been margin driven but in the UK in about five years'time we would hope to get turnover up to about £225 million.

'By then the group turnover, including Ireland, should be about £300 million.'

Durkan Group also has a separate commercial property portfolio and an investment arm, which helps provide funds to buy land for the new and social housing projects.