ISG Northern sets sights on £250m turnover

The contractor, taken private by US investor Cathexis earlier this year, aims to double earnings in the North of England and Scotland within five years, according to regional boss Andy McLinden.

ISG currently turns over £150m in the region stretching across North of England and Scotland. Manchester’s 80-strong office in Exchange Quay makes up £50m of this and will aim to double its contribution to £100m out of the £250m regional target. There is a small office in Liverpool with a handful of staff, along with the Yorkshire offices in Bradford and Leeds and the Scotland office in Glasgow.

McLinden said: “We want to grow the regional division substantially.”

ISG’s workload currently includes phase two of the Corn Exchange in central Manchester to convert upper-floor offices into a 114-bed aparthotel for Roomzzz. In Liverpool, ISG built the exhibition centre at Kings Dock, at £60m one of its biggest jobs in the regions, and recently won the contract to deliver Neptune Developments’ £35m project at Lime Street. In Samlesbury, Lancashire, ISG is building new facilities for defence giant BAE Systems.

There will be investment in staff and a move into more private sector work, especially office refurbishments and hotels. The ‘sweet spot’ for the size of contract is put at between £5m and £20m.

ISG has traditionally been stronger in the public sector, winning work through public frameworks run by North West Construction Hub, the fire service, Education Funding Agency, Ministry of Justice and others.

McLinden said the takeover in February by long-standing shareholder Cathexis has created a “more dynamic” mood in the firm. The number of regional directorships has been streamlined from seven to four, with former North West boss Danny Murray moving on some months ago. Murray is now working at student accommodation provider Liberty Living.

The aim is to achieve pre-tax profit margins of 2% consistently, which McLinden described as “not too big a jump”, adding that the North West had hit this margin in three out of the past five years.

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