Sales fall at Dowds Group after 'significant internal restructuring'

Dowds Group managing director James Dowds with outgoing Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton at an announcement earlier this year that the company is creating 68 more jobs
Gary McDonald Business Editor

BALLYMONEY-based building contractor Dowds Group has reported an 18 per cent decline in revenues in the year to March 31, though still posted a moderate rise in pre-tax profit.

The firm - which designs and builds mechanical and electrical services within large-scale education, healthcare, industrial and commercial facilities - blamed the sales dip on more businesses tendering for work, leaving to "very tough market conditions".

And it came as the group undertook significant internal restructuring, taking on an additional 13 employees to help improve project reporting, quality and control mechanisms and enhance operational management.

Founded in 1978, Dowds Group is a national mechanical, electrical and specialist contractor with a diverse range of clients across the UK and Ireland, and in addition to its Ballymoney headquarters it has Belfast and London offices.

Sales in the year fell back from £36.8 million to £31.1 million, according to accounts submitted to Companies House, though profits lifted from £562,459 to £598,714.

Over the year average staff numbers grew from 152 t0 165, with the annual wage bill rising from £6.5m to £7.3m. The firm's two principal directors were paid a combined £414,314.

In the strategic report accompanying the accounts the directors said they were "satisfied" with the latest financial results in the face of a "challenging market and tough competition".

They added: "The group remains selective in the project works it undertook to ensure the sustainability of the business going forward."

Earlier this year Dowds revealed that it plans to create 68 more jobs by 2021 to support its export growth aspirations.

It says the £4.5 million investment will further strengthen its design and engineering capability, enabling it to target higher value design and build contracts, particularly in markets in Britain and the Republic.

Recruitment has already begun for the new jobs, which will include a number of managerial posts as well as operatives and engineers. The company is also creating 40 apprenticeship posts.

Once in place, the jobs will contribute more than £2.2 million annually to the local economy (Invest NI is supporting the initiative with an employment grant of £442,000).

Dowds Group recently completed the mechanical and electrical installations on the revolutionary new High Energy Proton Beam Cancer Therapy Centre in Thames Valley Science Park in Reading.

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