Business

H&J Martin edges back into profit after Lagan takeover

H&J Martin recently won a UK-wide award for its work on the National Trust’s property at Mount Stewart

ONE of Northern Ireland's oldest building firms has edged back into profit after years of losses.

H&J Martin recorded a £60,000 operating profit in its first full year of trading followings its take over by the Lagan Construction Group.

It represents a significant turnaround for the firm which had reported losses of £5.7 million last year.

The results came on a much reduced turnover of £47.6m for the year to March - less than half the £98.5m in 2015.

The company has sold of many of its non-core assets, instead focusing on work in its fit-out and asset management services divisions.

A new executive team featuring Jon Adams as managing directors and Gerard O'Callahan as finance director has also been appointed.

And there are plans to expand the business in Britain via Lagan's offices in Manchester and Edinburgh.

Mr Adams said he was "delighted with the turnaround in the business and with our refocused customer centric model there is a healthy outlook for the company ahead".

Group Chief Executive, Colin Loughran added: "Strategically H&J Martin was a good fit for the Lagan Construction Group of companies and we are pleased how the company has integrated into our wider business.”

The Lagan Construction Group is planning an extension of its Titanic quarter head office to accommodate the relocation of H&J Martin's Belfast-based staff to the site.

The new centre at Sydenham Road will provide a workplace for some 250 employees relocated from H&J Martin offices.

The company said it planned to redevelop H&J Martin's existing headquarters on Ormeau Road at a later date

Lagan acquired H&J Martin in April last year in a move that safeguarded around 900 jobs.

H&J Martin was founded in 1840 and has worked on some of the north's most iconic buildings including the Grand Opera House, Belfast City Hall and the Slieve Donard Hotel.

However, in recent years it has suffered as a result of the economic downturn and incurred major losses on projects in Romania and Azerbaijan.

H&J Martin now operates a construction and fit-out division across Britain and Ireland with a focus on high quality interior fit-out and specialist restoration services.

It recently won a UK-wide award from Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in the building conservation category for work on behalf of the National Trust at Mount Stewart estate, Co Down.

Meanwhile, its asset management services division operates in various markets, with a focus on building, mechanical and electrical services, as well as self-delivery of specialist activities such as fire and security systems, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and door and gate automation.

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