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From strength to strength

STEEL - Alasdair Reisner rounds up the gures for steel fabrication in a year only marred by one spectacularly misfortunate job

EVEN if you had just arrived in the UK from space and hadn't been following the headlines of the past year, it is easy to see from the Construction News annual league table of leading steel fabricators what the biggest story in the steel sector has been this year.

The troubles that Cleveland Bridge has experienced at Wembley Stadium and the spin-off effects of that disaster have shredded the company's position in the market.

From the firm's meteoric rise through the £100 million turnover barrier in 2003, up from £29 million the year before, the firm has fallen back to earth with a thud. Last year the firm saw nearly £40 million slashed from its turnover and the horror story has continued again in 2005 with turnover tumbling to just £25.6 million. Unsurprisingly, profits have gone into reverse with the firm hammered by an £11 million loss in its most recent annual results.

It's a shame, because the firm's troubles mask the fact that the sector in general had a pretty good year.

Apart from Cleveland Bridge, all but two of the firms in our table grew their turnover in the past 12 months, while all but four of the other firms saw profits rise.

Again there is no surprise about the name at the top of the table.

Severfield Rowen's dominance of the sector, and in particular the major projects such as Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and Heathrow's Terminal 5, have kept John Severs' group of companies head and shoulders above the rest.

But its rivals are also doing well.

William Hare, Billington, Bourne, Caunton, Fairfield Mabey, Barrett and DGT have all recorded sevenfigure boosts in profits in the last year, suggesting the steel sector is in fine fettle as it goes on into 2007.

How the country's top steel fabricators have fared Turnover (£) Pre tax profit (£) Latest Last Previous Latest Last Previous Employees Av. wage Last Accounts Severfield Rowen 236,722,000 204,277,000 170,152,000 19,303,000 12,220,000 9,121,000 1,077 37,151 Dec 31 2005 William Hare 101,197,000 90,638,000 88,571,000 2,228,000 657,000 579,000 858 24,523 Dec 31 2005 Billington 44,984,875 23,250 09,288 48,947 63,944 6,048 4 Rowecord 44,198 ,101 41,658 ,556 35,191,300 1,657,224 2 ,743,187 1,460,275 430 25,632 Jun 30 2006 Bone 34,600,431 0 3 1 -437,078 202,842 247 Bourne 34,412,371 26,962,186 27,766,188 1,376,975 103,308 29,455 161 32,362 Oct 31 2005 Conde r 30 ,912 ,050 568 674 758 194 565 165 27,055 Dec 31 2005 Caunton 28,699,632 21,982,146 24,377,035 1,880,365 155,797 201,358 175 30,568 Jan 31 2006 Fairfield Mabey 26,753,782 22,150,480 22,904,292 1,445,771 254,537 792,069 238 23,025 Sep 30 2005 Barrett 26,374,000 23,231,000 13,449,000 2,881,000 195,000 110,000 96 27,718 Sep 30 2005 Cleveland Bridge 25,607,000 61,480,000 100,010,000 -11,860,000 1,105,000 1,247,000 253 29,830 Dec 31 2005 DGT 17,768,832 14,116,162 15,748,096 1,418,060 345,510 218,005 110 26,796 Mar 31 2006 DA Green 16,070,948 12,953,085 11,814,059 108,860 134,004 132,790 150 17,927 Apr30 2005 Graham Wood 15,208,280 10,036,955 12,635,282 328,033 160,159 112,950 108 25,298 Aug 31 2005 AC Bacon 11,937,828 10,731,440 9,338,499 704,540 439,249 303,230 97 24,618 Dec 31 2005 Bison 11,661,000 0 0 0 0 0 Allslade 10,462,882 6,189 ,614 006 ,645 262 Harry Peers 10,241,561 12,900,208 10,233,448 244,565 265,532 332,751 46 36,698 Apr 30 2005 Source: UK steel fabricators with turnover of more than £10 million based on full accounts lodged at Companies House