H&A Group had swung back into profit before founder's tragic passing

The H&A Group turned a £3.2m loss into a £395,000 profit in its latest full trading year
The H&A Group turned a £3.2m loss into a £395,000 profit in its latest full trading year

SOUTH Derry plumbing and heating contractor H&A Group turned a loss of £3.2 million into a profit of £395,000 in the last full trading year before the tragic death in a car crash of its founder and owner Hugh McWilliams.

Figures filed at Companies House reveal that the Draperstown firm, established in 1993 by Derry stalwart Hugh and his wife Anne, increased its sales to £24.6 million in the 12 months to the end of May 2020.

Over the year it lopped almost £3 million off its net operating expenses, which shrank from £6.2m to £3.4m, which ultimately contributed to a return to profit for H&A.

The accounts show that employee numbers at the firm fell from 358 to 345, and as a result its wages bill came down from £12.3m to £10.1m as a result.

H&A - which as well as Draperstown has offices in Mallusk and Clane in Co Kildare - has diversified in recent years from its core discipline of mechanical services into new areas including building works, kitchens, bathrooms, refurbishment, external cyclical maintenance, electrical and renewable energy.

The company has had an ongoing partnership with the NI Housing Executive in the delivery of its heating and all trades response maintenance contracts.

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

Last August tragedy struck for the family and company when Hugh McWilliams (63) died in a single-vehicle crash on the Five Mile Straight near Draperstown.

Hugh had a close relationship with the GAA over many years, and H&A was the main sponsor of the Derry country team and his local club St Colm's in Ballinascreen.

His son Carlus (30), who has been part of the senior country side in Derry, was appointed as a director of the H&A Group on August 14 last.