Derry construction giant at centre of 'cartel' investigation posts £18m pre-tax profit

Pre-tax profits at Derry construction giant FP McCann rose to £18.2m last year
Ryan McAleer

THE Derry construction giant at the centre of a £25.5 million fine over an alleged price-fixing cartel, has posted a pre-tax profit of £18.2m for 2019.

FP McCann is a major player in the UK construction scene, active in civil engineering, housing project and the manufacture of building products.

Although headquartered at Knockloughrim near Magherafelt, it operates 12 manufacturing plants throughout the UK.

In October, the family-owned firm was slapped with one of the biggest fines in Northern Ireland corporate history after being implicated along with two English firms in a long-running investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

FP McCann, which vowed to “robustly appeal” the massive CMA fine, is alleged to have breached competition law by taking part in an illegal cartel in Britain from July 2006 to March 2013.

The CMA found that FP McCann and the two other companies allegedly took part in an illegal cartel in Britain from July 2006 to March 2013, when they agreed to fix or coordinate their prices, shared the market by allocating customers and regularly exchanged sensitive information.

New accounts for the south Derry-based construction giant show it recorded a turnover of £264m for the 12 months ending December 31 2019, up by 3.7 per cent on 2018. Pre-tax profits increased marginally to £18.2m.

The group's workforce also increased by 124 to 1,716 during 2019.

In a report accompany the accounts, FP McCann's directors described the fine as “substantial”.

However they stated: “The directors believe the outcome and fine imposed to be unreasonable and have commenced proceedings to appeal this decision.”

Beyond the fine, the directors said they were pleased with the group's performance during 2019 “despite the uncertainties”.

“We have continually invested in our facilities and people and are confident that this strategy will ensure that the company will be able to captialize on the growing demand from the construction industry to provide modular solutions to meet its needs in an environment of declining skilled labour market.”

The directors also stated that a number of major contracts won in the last quarter of 2019 will ensure FP McCann remains profitable in 2020.

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