Derry GAA sponsor H&A Group swings to massive losses after 'unsatisfactory year'

SOUTH Derry plumbing and heating contractor H&A Group has plunged from a small profit into a significant loss after what its directors labelled an "unsatisfactory" trading year.

Despite the company's turnover lifting from £21.6 million to £24.2 million in the year to May 31 last, its cost of sales soared by nearly £5m, meaning it posted a gross profit of £1,667,065 against £3,907,835 previously.

But H&A's net operating expenses soared over the year from £3.6m to £8.2 million, with administrative costs alone more than doubling to £7.8 million.

And on a bottom line basis, after all taxes, its swung from banking a £528,523 profit the previous year to a whopping loss of £5.8 million.

The company was established in 1993 by Hugh and Anne McWilliams, and for the last five years H&A has been the main sponsor with Derry GAA.

In a statement accompanying the accounts filed at Companies House, the directors said: "Both the level of business and the year-end financial position were considered unsatisfactory.

"But we expect that this level of activity will improve in the foreseeable future."

They add: "The key business risks and uncertainties are increasing raw materials and maintaining sales levels.

"The group faces competition in its various markets, and if it fails to compete successfully, its market share and profitability may decline."

H&A has grown just six people to an employee base of 358, and over the trading year it actually increased that payroll by 28.

That in turn pushed up its wages bill from just over £9 million to £14.4 million, with those costs including an undefined "other remuneration" of £4.1m.

The directors' salaries rose from £754,682 to £1,048,408.

H&A Group has its headquarters in Draperstown and operates satellite offices in Mallusk and in Co Kildare.

The company began life as a mechanical services specialist but in recent years has diversified into new areas.

It has carved out a reputation for excellence on a diversity of projects, specialising in large volume contracts within the social housing sector, where it delivers mechanical, electrical, refurbishment and renewable projects throughout Ireland.

The company delivers commercial/industrial projects to blue chip companies and a variety of government schemes aimed at alleviating fuel poverty.