Turnover up by a third at Coalisland firm Western Building Systems

Western Building Systems directors Martin and Declan McCloskey

TURNOVER at Coalisland construction firm Western Building Systems have rocketed by almost a third to around £39.9 million.

The company, which specialises in off-site construction, is a leading builder of schools and hospitals across Ireland and Britain.

Directors said the results for the year to April 2016 were "considered satisfactory, set against a background of increased competition in the market and reduced margins".

Operating profits also grew, rising almost 14 per cent to £3.8m. However the gross profit margin fell to 14.62 per cent against 17.97 per cent in 2014.

In their report filed with annual accounts at Companies House, directors said the future appeared positive.

"The company's order book is already very strong and post year end, trading is strong".

However, they said the aftermath of the EU referendum and subsequent currency fluctuations were posing a challenge.

"They directors consider that hedging against foreign currency risk, especially euro, is necessary going forward," the said, adding: "The company has also been carrying this out historically."

The increase in the firm's turnover was divided roughly equally between its operations in the UK and the Republic which accounted for sales of £21.2m and £18.7m respectively.

The business actually consolidated staff numbers over the year with the overall number dropping to 44 from 53 making its wage bill just under £1.9m.

However, in reality the company supports many times that in terms of sub-contractors and temporary staff with the number changing depending on workloads.

In April, the firm revealed a £1.5m expansion including the opening of a new 30,000 sq ft factory at its Coalisland headquarters, complete with two 20 tonne overhead cranes.

The company has also extended its fleet with four new vehicles and made further investments in the window and kitchen division, modernising its production facilities.

Earlier this year, Western Building Systems was among just five Northern Ireland companies named in Investec's Mid-Market 100, a list of the fastest growing private mid-market companies in the UK.

Among reject projects for the firm was an €18m (£15.2m) education campus in Ashbourne, Co Meath, and the construction of schools throughout Dublin valued at more than €15m (£12.7m).

It has also recently worked on a facility at St James' Hospital in Dublin, as well as a projects at the University of Essex and the University of Leeds.

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