OPERATING margins continue to slip at RG Carter but the Norwich-based contractor has strengthened its balance sheet.
Margins have now fallen from 4.6 per cent in 2002 to 4.1 per cent last year but profits and turnover both rose in 2004 and the business has lifted net assets to £98 million.
Chairman Robert Carter said: 'The group has had another successful year.' RG Car ter hoisted pre-tax profit by £391,000 to £14.1 million last year as turnover edged up £7.2 million to £235.9 million.
This increase in profitability enabled the company to pay out another £300,000 in dividends at 25p per share to Mr Carter, who owns all the company's ordinary stock.
The firm has four directors, who were paid a total of £691,000 last year ? up £84,000 on 2003. The wages for the highest-paid director, who is not named, rose £30,000 to £267,000.
The size of RG Carter's workforce barely rose, with 2,151 employed last year and 1,500 of this number on site or doing production work.
Despite the small rise in employees and a small pay rise for the board, the firm's wage bill surged more than £500,000 to £3.4 million last year.
During the past year, RG Carter also bought more cement from C&H Quick Mix, which it half-owns.
Purchases from the cement maker ballooned to £2.4 million f rom £686,972 in 2003.