Business

Sales smash £500m barrier at construction giant McLaughlin & Harvey

MEN AT WORK: Turnover at the parent company of McLaughlin & Harvey topped the £500m mark last year
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE parent firm of one of the north's oldest and largest construction groups has seen its sales soar past the half billion pound mark in a trading year in which has further enhanced its UK-wide profile.

McLaughlin & Harvey Holdings, which operates in building and civil engineering contracting, property development, landfill sites and wholesale distribution, saw its turnover rise more than 20 per cent from £422.7 million to £513.4 million in the 2019 calendar year.

The Mallusk group's main subsidiary firms – McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd in Belfast and Trench Holdings Ltd in Scotland (whose subsidiaries include Barr Construction) - contributed £268m and £245m respectively to that total.

And the overall balance sheet for the group - which is chaired by industry veteran Ken Cheevers (85) - also shows increased net assets of £55.2m, while it is sitting on a healthy cash pile of £84.1m.

The directors said they are "very encouraged" by the performance of the group as a whole throughout the year, adding: "The construction and civil engineering businesses showed a strong improvement in trading performance, and the current order book and tender opportunities for 2020 is very healthy.

"The fundamentals of each of the businesses within the McLaughlin and Harvey Group are strong and focused on each of their respective markets."

But those statements were made in advance of the Covid outbreak, and when filing accounts in June they cautioned on the potential impact of the pandemic going forward.

The group made a bottom-line profit of £8.8m over the year, with the bulk (£5.8m) coming from the operations of its main McL&H subsidiary.

Average staff numbers rose slightly over the year from 777 to 798, and the group's annual wages bill increased from £44.9m to £48.9m.

The group's managing director Philip Cheevers (58) saw his overall remuneration package fall slightly to £663,000, the accounts show.

The McLaughlin and Harvey masthead continues to dominate at a number of major build schemes across Britain and Ireland.

At the end of last year it won the contract to build a £26 million centre for an annexe to the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum at the former London Olympics site in the east of the city.

It is currently on site at Liverpool FC's new £50m training facility and was also awarded the design and build contract for the new £55m cruise terminal in Liverpool.

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