Housing and civils drive Eric Wright profit

Lancashire property business Eric Wright Group has announced increased profit in its latest results, registering pre-tax profit of £10m for the 2018 calendar year, despite a fall in construction turnover.

Profit climbed from £7.2m as overall turnover increased from £159.1m to £170.4m, with the group saying growth was principally driven by residential arm Applethwaite Homes and Eric Wright Civil Engineering. Highlighting difficulties across the construction sector, the contracting business saw turnover fall to £74.6m, down year-on-year from £9.4m.

EWG said that an under-performing contract had materially impacted the business, the project suffering design-related issues and suffering from two supply chain members entering administration. The group said: “Despite disappointing losses, the client base expanded and existing relationships, including with Muse Developments and Manchester Life, continued to strengthen.”

Jeremy Hartley, managing director, said: “We have made excellent progress in meeting many of the targets we set out to achieve during 2018 which has allowed the Group to deliver another strong set of financial results in sectors which, particularly in the case of construction, continue to present challenges. This outcome has been made possible through the commitment of all our senior management teams who continue to challenge, review and improve all aspects of our activities.”

Investment activity proved fruitful, with a number of new lettings, positive rent reviews, and a revaluation gain of £3.7m. Barnett House, a Manchester city centre office block, was disposed of generating a profit of £1.34m.

Applethwaite turned over £13.5m in the year, up from £8.1m in 2017, as unit sales climbed from 25 to 60. An upturn for civils, from £14.2m to £21.7m, was put down to key local authority relationships growing stronger and the group’s framework presence widening in line with the division’s future strategy.

Maple Grove Developments moved forward with a pipeline including a forward-funded student scheme in York, an industrial scheme at Deeside and the Pioneer Place project in Burnley. Eric Wright added that it expects growth its healthcare division, following a joint venture entered into with Glenholme Healthcare in May of this year.

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