THE Belfast-based parent company of specialist retailer Park Electrical Services, the UK’s fastest growing power, control and automation technical distributor, has reported a dent in its profits over the last year as its sales slipped back slightly.
Westbank Business Park Ltd, whose registered office is in the Harbour Estate, is the holding company for a group of wholesaling and retailing electrical component companies operating in the UK and Ireland.
Its best-known customer-facing division is Park Electrical Services (PES Group), which operates from a network of branches in Belfast, Dublin, Glasgow and Wrexham.
PES makes by far the biggest contribution to Westbank, whose latest financials filed with Companies House show that turnover in the group dropped back from £27.4m to £26.8m in the year to August 2017.
Gross profit improved, but when other costs were factored in - including a £360,000 hit on currency exchanges - Westbank's retained profit dipped from £2,421,407 in 2016 to £1,565,354 last year.
The company was established 45 years ago by Jim McConachie, who remains one of its directors.
During the last trading year Westbank subsidiary PES completed the acquisition of Almeric Ltd, a well-known company within the automation industry in Ireland.
Almeric, established in 2003, is the Siemens distribution partner for the Republic and gives Park Electrical Services the full support of Siemens for its full range of industrial control and automation products.
Currently some £4.6m of Westbank's £26.8m sales are garnered in the Republic, according to the accounts.
They also show that the average number of people employed by the group during the year jumped significantly from 50 to 82, which in turn pushed up its overall wages bill from £2.9m to £3.3m.
And directors' salaries more than doubled last year from £135,184 to £289,889, the accounts reveal.