X1 Eastbank, delivered by Forrest in 2016

Forrest announces redundancies and restructure

Neil Tague

Bolton-based building group Forrest has announced a programme of redundancies and a restructure of the business.

A Forrest spokesman said: “The company is currently undergoing a restructuring in order to focus resource on our growth markets and around 30 redundancies will be made as a result. All employees immediately affected have been informed and it would be improper for us to comment any further on individual cases until this process is complete. Rumours of the board being sacked are completely untrue.

“While the construction sector has faced a number of challenges over the last 12 months, the outlook for Forrest post-restructure is positive. We have a strong order book and last year recorded the highest value of contract wins in our 62 years of trading.

“We are currently working on a number of major redevelopment projects across the UK and these changes will in no way impact work with our existing clients. A refinance is also due to complete by the end of this month and we will provide a further update at this point.”

The company was founded in 1955 and over the years has built up a particularly strong reputation in social housing. In 2016, Forest was restructured into three operating divisions: New Build; Refurbish & Respond; and Energy, reflecting its move into new areas. The order book and pipeline figure stated on its website at present is £1.4bn

A 2007 management buyout backed by LDC was followed by a secondary buyout backed by Palatine in 2013, in which the investor paid £16m for a “significant minority stake”. Palatine drafted in Bob Holt, formerly of Mitie and Mears, as non-executive chairman. The business is led by Lee McCarren as chief executive.

In 2015 Forrest was appointed on a long-term contract with Anchor, the UK’s largest provider of not-for-profit housing, which with the potential to grow to £350m, was acclaimed as the largest deal in the company’s history.

Forrest has also entered the world of city centre residential. In May 2016, it was appointed to deliver M-One Central, a £12.6m residential scheme on Manchester’s Great Ancoats Street, for Factory Estates, while in October it completed the £11m first phase of Eastbank for X1, also on Great Ancoats Street.

The most recent accounts relating to Herbert T Forrest Ltd, to the year ended 28 February 2016, are now overdue, having been due for submission to Companies House by 30 November 2016.

 

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