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Social housing group Forrest sees double digit growth

Privately owned social housing support services group Forrest has reported an 11.5 per cent annual sales increase on the back of a boom in low carbon technologies.

The Preston based regeneration, refurbishment and responsive maintenance provider said growth from new and existing customers has helped increase sales to £52.3 million in the 12 months to 31 August 2010.

Its underlying operating profit rose 9.5 per cent to £6m, up from £5.5m in 2009, in line with revenue growth.

Operating predominantly in the North-west of England, Forrest expects local market estimates for social housing spend to remain strong, with the large majority of clients outside of local authority control.

And its current forward order book is the strongest in the company’s 55 year history.

A company statement said the demand for the installation of carbon reduction technologies, such as solar panels, energy efficient boilers and smart-metering, had been particularly strong, as more social landlords tackle the low carbon agenda in order to drive down energy costs for their customers.

The group is also expanding into West Yorkshire which has enabled further growth and it plans further investment into the region as it seeks “to become a partner of choice across the North of England”.

Chief executive Lee McCarren said: “Our continued focus on delivering the best quality of service and fully integrated support services for our partners is helping to generate both loyalty from existing clients and significant new orders. Combined with our geographic expansion and investment in our teams, service lines, infrastructure and expertise, we see significant opportunity to continue growing our share of the market.”

Forrest chairman Robert Morgan said “Despite challenging market conditions and several high profile business failures in the sector last year, Forrest has continued to demonstrate its ability to deliver sustained, profitable growth in its key markets. This has been achieved by a clear commitment to customer service, a focus on providing essential, integrated support services for social housing groups, and strong business and financial management. 

“The group’s cash generation also remains ahead of budget, placing it in a strong position to continue investing for forward growth.”

The company now manages 47 formal partnering contracts and refurbishes or maintains over 20,000 homes a year throughout the north of England.

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