JOHN Sisk, the St Albans-based contracting group which is part of the Irish-owned Sisk Group, has fallen into the red after poor results from its London region.
But the company has pledged to return to prof it this year. The group's annual report shows Sisk reported a pre-tax loss of £397,120 for the year ending December 1998 on turnover almost unchanged at £125.3 million.
In the previous year the firm, which also has of fices in Epsom, Solihull and Elland, reported a pre-tax prof it of £1.4 million.
A spokesman said: 'In 1998, the company performed well in all regions but incurred a signif icant loss on a major project in London and the full impact of this was taken in this year's figures.
'The 1999 results will show the company returning to prof itability.'
The directors said the firm's prospects for the year ahead were good. The number of staff employed by the company increased by 21 per cent to 409. John Sisk grew rapidly during the 1990s with a focus on developing a client base among larger blue chip clients and expanding its repeat business.
The losses will be a blow for the firm, which had put an emphasis on avoiding the volatility in prof its that dogs the sector.
Last year, Sisk's largest jobs included a £14 million sorting of fice for the Royal Mail at Warrington and a £15.5 million transport interchange for London Underground at North Greenwich. It has also recently finished work on a £28 million design and build five-star hotel at Canary Wharfin London Docklands for Canary Riverside Management.