SCOTTISH construction group Dawn is starting a partnership housing operation to work with its house building operation.
Dawn lost a thumping £4.2 million before tax in the year to January 2004 and the move is part of chairman Alan MacDonald's strategy to work in long-term partnership with reliable clients.
Finance director Stewart Rough said: 'Getting into partnership housing will hedge against a downturn in the private market.'
Dawn's housing arm sold around 200 homes last year at an average price of £120,000 and was profitable, unlike the core construction operation.
The group took a £700,000 hit from closing joinery operation Walmac and its general works arm and lost £3.5 million as the contracting arm expanded.
Mr Rough said: 'In construction we had to move up the chain because our margins were getting squeezed.To gain entry we had to take on work at relatively low margins and that has served its purpose.'
Dawn's turnover rose £24 million to £110 million as the contracting arm, which had worked mainly on warehouse and retail parks, moved into city centre office and residential work.
Walmac closed with the loss of 50 jobs but former managing director Bob White has re-started the business and employed some former staff after Dawn promised to push work his way.