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Trio record low turnovers for 2009 as recession hits mid-tier firms

Three more mid-tier contractors have revealed the stark effects of the recession on their businesses in recent weeks.

The combined turnover of Rydon, Tolent and Barhale dropped by more than a quarter over the past year.

The three contractors, who are all in the CN Top 100, saw their combined 2009 year turnover fall by 25 per cent to £364.6 million.

East Sussex-based Rydon’s turnover fell 16 per cent in the year to 30 September 2009 from £175.6m to £147.9m. Pre-tax profit dropped to £8.7m from £15.2m.

The contractor and residential developer said the weak housing market had led the directors to reaffirm their decision not to start any new development sites.

Walsall-based civil engineering firm Barhale said it had to reduce its workforce by approximately one third after being hit by a “cyclical reduction in water framework turnover” as utility firms set about renewing their asset management plan frameworks.

Barhale’s turnover in the year to 31 December 2009 was £129.1m - down from £157.7m in the prior year. The firm made a pre-tax loss of £480,000 from a pre-tax profit of £3.4m.

The firm is, however, looking forward to 2010 with confidence after winning places on AMP5 frameworks with Anglian Water, Southern Water, Yorkshire Water and Thames Water.

Gateshead-based Tolent saw turnover fall 43 per cent to £88m in the year to 31 December 2009, while pre-tax profit fell to £58,000 from £1.3m.

The company was particularly hit by the commercial property downturn in the North-east of England.

In the firm’s latest accounts, executive chairman Peter Hems said: “The outlook for 2010 remains very challenging although we are seeing signs that tendering activity is increasing.

“The lack of available bank funding for private commercial clients continues to be the biggest challenge and we do not anticipate that there will be any improvement in the market generally until the second half of the year at the earliest.”