TAKING on more housing and industrial work has nearly doubled profits at the UK arm of Irish contractor John Sisk.
Workload at the St Albans-based business leapt £94.4 million to £250.4 million last year and pre-tax profits surged £1.7 million to £3.7 million.
Sisk said: 'Turnover increased substantially in 2005, driven by increased activity in the industrial and residential sectors in particular.
'The company has a strong order book for 2006 and its prospects for the coming year are good.'
With operating profits up £1.3 million to £2.7 million, Sisk UK, which is led by Pierce O'Shea (pictured) is working to a margin of 1.1 per cent, compared with 0.9 per cent in 2004.
The Irish group is controlled by George, Hal and John Sisk and moved to the UK in 1980. Back in 1993, Sisk UK was turning over just £36 million, but has grown on the back of retail, industrial and leisure work and moved into housing a few years ago.
In 2004, Sisk bought Bideem, a £33 million-turnover contractor from Bristol, which works in the rail and civils market.
This expansion involved Sisk taking on more staff, with the UK workforce up 12 per cent to 440 people last year - although only 35 of these people are classed as operatives.
This recruitment drive lifted the wage bill by £2.6 million to £16.6 million at the UK arm of Sisk, which also works in Ireland and southern Africa, notably Zimbabwe.