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Keltbray's £5m investment boosts turnover by £30m

FINANCE - Growth in commercial market helps specialist to grow prots by £1.9 million

KELTBRAY'S decision to invest in equipment in advance of an upturn in the commercial market has paid off with a surge in trading.

Earnings slumped at the demolition and civils contractor in 2004 after the group invested £4.9 million on plant and machinery but this paid off as turnover boomed £30 million to £73 million in 2005.

Finance director John Keehan said: 'A lot of that turnover is off ice and commercial around the south-east and some big projects. There's a lot of work in London.

'In 2006 it's evened out a bit but turnover shouldn't be much short of last year.'

Around 60 per cent of Keltbray's workload comes from demolition, which this year included work at Tollgate House in Bristol.

Last year's rise in workload benefited the bottom line with pre-tax profits surging £1.9 million to £3.1 million.

Keltbray managing Brendan Kerr said: 'I am delighted with an outstanding 2005 for the group, which has resulted in record profitable growth.

'A large proportion of our work is with repeat clients, ref lecting our ability to perform projects in line with budget and often ahead of schedule.

'Activity levels going in to 2006 have remained consistent with the high levels of 2005 giving us a strong platform to continue our growth. We look forward to another successful year.'

With operating profits up £2.1 million at £3.6 million, margins at the business have advanced to 5 per cent from 3.6 per cent.

Mr Keehan added: 'We've got a large fixed overhead of people and plant and you can't get rid of that when turnover falls but when it rises margins tend to go up too.'