Bardsley achieves ‘best results in history’

Tameside-based Bardsley Construction Group said it has achieved a forward order book that was the "envy of the industry" after announcing its annual results.

Covering the 12 months to 31 December 2010, Bardsley increased turnover to £64.8m from £57.4m in the previous 12-month period, a rise of 12.9%.

Bardsley achieved a rise of 2.6% in gross profit to £6.4m from £6.2m in 2009. The business continued to be cash generative with a balance sheet showing net cash in the bank of £5.8m, a net increase of £2m on the previous 12 month period.

Bardsley has a pipeline of secured work as of April 2011 valued at £45m, which represents 87% of its targeted annual turnover for 2011.

Roly BardsleyChairman Roly Bardsley described the 12 months as an "extraordinary" year, saying the company had an 86% repeat customer base in the order book.

Bardsley was also "pleased to report" a pre-tax profit before exceptional items of £2.3m for the year, marginally down on the £2.5m achieved in the previous year.

He said: "We have successfully restructured and refinanced after two years of intense work. It has been an expensive and distracting process but one which sets us up perfectly for the climb out of recession and into better times.

"It is a credit to my team that despite these huge distractions, we have been able to report strong profits and a forward order book that is the envy of the industry.

"Bardsley Construction Group has been in business for more than 45 years, during which time the company has faced many different challenges, none more so than the recent recession and the Government comprehensive spending review. However, we believe we have faced these challenges head on and have had one of the best trading results in the company's history."

A corporate restructuring of the business, separating the contracting and development business into two divisions, was designed to further strengthen the comapany and to help protect it from the Government's cuts in public spending that affect sectors in which Bardsley works such as higher and further education.

To address the impact of the spending cuts, Bardsley has added new areas of construction such as health and commercial to its traditional sectors of social housing and education.

Bardsley said the key strategy is to maintain a strong pipeline of business in the public sector by diversification through a funding model launched in 2011 which aims to unlock stalled capital projects by bringing private sector funding into the public sector, known as genesis equity.

Bardsley added: "The potential pipeline of opportunities is already standing at £100m and will hopefully start to generate turnover towards the last quarter of 2011.

"Genesis offers an alternative to the much criticised PFI model – a simple, flexible and affordable package of services. Our offer can encompass design, project, management, funding, construction and facility management and will be tailored to work within the budgetary parameters of the client, ensuring the solution remains affordable at all times. In short, Genesis can fund, build and manage the project."

The business, based in Dukinfield in Tameside, Greater Manchester, has also expanded into new regions for the first time by crossing the Pennines to open an office in Leeds to serve Yorkshire, a presence that has secured new contracts and therefore created a significant increase in workload.

Bardsley said the firm's strategic priorities of the past year also focused on building out its executive housing developments in Greater Manchester at The Boatyard Worsley and Dukinfield Golf Club, all of the homes in phase one at Dukinfield have been sold and just three remain available at The Boatyard.

Bardsley has commenced phase two of construction at both of these schemes to meet demand. Marketing of the homes, with a 5% price increase, has secured exchanges on both sites with unit sales representing 30% of target sales achieved by April 2011.

Steve Purkis, group finance director at Bardsley Construction Group, said construction remains a "very challenging" market in which to operate because of factors such as subcontractors going out of business and the need to support the firm's subcontractor base and increased competition for work combined with lower margins because of "suicide bidding" by rival businesses.

Purkis said: "Despite these challenging conditions we have still had a solid financial year and enter the new financial year with a strong pipeline and balance sheet.

"The year has been all about concentrating on what we excel by continuing to deliver a quality product and not being afraid to bid at price levels that reflect the quality of our offering. This has helped us to maintain margins at above the level of the previous year when the wider trend in the construction sector has seen a reduction in margins."

Purkis added that the refinancing of Bardsley Construction Group, arranged with and supported by Royal Bank of Scotland, showed that the bank had confidence in Bardsley and its future prospects and while the restructuring was a complex exercise, it had removed all bank debt from the balance sheet of Bardsley Construction and will allow net assets and cash to continue to strengthen throughout the current financial year.

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