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Margins at RJ McLeod top industry average for 2003

FINANCE -

MARGINS have surged above the industry average at RJ McLeod after the Glasgowbased contractor's attempts to reduce its cost base paid off.

In the year to November 2003 the firm lifted pre-tax profits by £206,409 to £1.2 million despite turnover dipping £1.7 million to £52.8 million.

A company spokesman said: 'The group's market place continues to be very competitive but, despite reduced turnover, an increase in profit has been realised.

'The group has a healthy order book and, notwithstanding difficult trading conditions, the directors are confident that by pursuing opportunities in existing and new fields the group will continue to play a profitable part.'

With operating profits leaping by half to £923,344, margins at McLeod, which also owns structural repairs contractor Scott-Orr, passed the industry average of 1.6 per cent.

This rise comes after McLeod closed its defined benefits pension in 2001 in favour of a money purchase scheme When profits halved in 2002 McLeod cut a number of jobs and the workforce dipped again marginally last year to 358.

The wage bill still leapt another £1.2 million to £9.5 million last year with total benefits for the five directors up £108,095 to £781,959.