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Margins at McLean outperform industry

FINANCE - Turnover rises at David McLean as contracting arm's margins top 3 per cent

DAVID McLean has kept margins at its contracting arm above 3 per cent for a 10th year in succession.

Retail clients provided £47 million-worth of work in the past year at the privately owned firm's contracting arm, where the margins are double the average level at quoted companies.

Bill Addy, the group business director, said: 'Our continued growth this year is based on our integrated approach with all David McLean companies working closely together to provide a client-focused service.'

Turnover has hit £6 million at the small works division but will be capped at this level for the foreseeable future.

Mr Addy said: 'The strategy is taking the group forward in a controlled manner.'

Profits also surged at the housing division, which has expanded via acquisition in recent years.Luxury outfit Egerton was bought in 2002 and last year McLean beat off a field of bidders including Country & Metropolitan to snap up Devon-based firm Sharman for an estimated £20 million.

These acquisitions helped lift sales at McLean's housing arm to 449 - up from 361 in the previous year - and took the strategic land bank to 2,900 plots.

The rise in sales helped offset the average selling price, which remained flat at £188,000.

The surge in housing sales helped group turnover above the £200 million-mark for the first time since the company was founded in 1972.Workload is expected to hit £240 million this year.

The property division continued to trade in the red as cash was invested in longterm proposals, including regeneration schemes in Chester and Liverpool, which are expected to generate turnover of £250 million.