Builders' Merchants News

Ray O'Rourke: construction faces tough 18 months ahead.

Ray O'Rourke predicts another 18 months crisis

Published:  10 August, 2011

LONDON: Ray O'Rourke predicts the financial storm hitting construction will not ease until 2013.

The chairman of the UK's biggest private contractor said there was still a long road ahead before recovery in engineering and construction takes hold.

He unveiled pre-profits halved at £25.9m for the year ending 31 March, down from £50m last time. By comparison, total managed revenue dipped by just 6% to £4bn, still 20% below the £5bn peak in 2009.

Mr O'Rourke said: "Looking forward, the engineering and construction sector will continue to face into an economic storm for the foreseeable future.

"While these and a number of other uncertainties remain in the immediate term, our medium-term view of demand growth remains positive, and we will recommence revenue growth from 2012-13."

He said: "In this environment we will focus on protecting cash reserves and maintaining earnings quality at the individual project level.

"We now have a safer, leaner and smarter business that is in good competitive shape." 

Despite the fall in revenue, the Laing O'Rourke's gross margin edged up 10.2% – its best-ever performance.