County Durham construction company Esh Group has started the New Year with a bulging order book worth more than £300m despite a year of restructuring.

The Bowburn-based company made a strategic decision to focus on their core geographic area – the North East and Yorkshire – which meant withdrawing from operating in Scotland and the North West.

That decision meant parting company with its plant hire business Mechplant North East, as well as closing down its Scottish and North West operations.

But the moves appear to have paid off with the company starting 2021 with a record order book.

The civil engineering and construction group has reorganised its work into three divisions – civil engineering; living, build and facilities; and private housing.

The three-year reorganisation programme involved restructuring costs of £165,000 and led to a pre-tax loss of £2.9m but the firm posted a 13.4% increase in turnover in 2019, from £186.5m to £212.6m.

The overall loss for the year as a result of the reorganisation was £2.4m – although its continuing operations turned a profit of £288,000.

Operating profit from continuing operations also rose from £500,000 to £800,000.

Esh Group’s chief executive Andy Radcliffe said: “Following the reorganisation, our business is in a position of considerable financial strength, our liquidity remains very strong with a 2019 balance sheet standing at £33m, of which £15m is cash.

“We now have a business that is leaner, more customer and market focussed, and which is aligned to resilient and robust sectors of the market.

“We start 2021 in our strongest position in years, with a healthy pipeline of work made up of high-quality contracts for private and public sector clients, and importantly, the financial firepower to deliver our new growth strategy.

“Our £300m order book comprises sectors that appear to be resilient, and in some cases, stimulated, by the impact of the pandemic – as a result, we expect to deliver a healthy level of profitability throughout 2021.”

 

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