Profit up at Byrne despite £1.9m Ilke Homes write-off

Byrne Group has posted an increase in pre-tax profit, despite being forced to write off £1.9m after the collapse of modular homebuilder Ilke Homes.

Its profit rose 6 per cent to £6.8m, while turnover swelled from £153m to £191m, according to the group’s financial statement for the year to 30 June.

Groundworks subsidiary O’Keefe Construction – which Byrne bought out of administration last year – saw turnover exceed its budget targets to reach £45m, while operating profit stood at £2.9m.

However, its performance was heavily impacted by the collapse in June of key client Ilke Homes, which resulted in a bad debt of £1.9m. Ilke left 1,150 staff without jobs after folding with a debt load of £120m, excluding intercompany debt.

Elsewhere in the business, concrete-frame contractor Byrne Bros saw revenue drop from £73m to £65m and operating profit almost halve to £2.5m on the back of “very turbulent” market conditions.

However, it remained resilient, completing work for HS2 at Euston, Paddington Amphitheatre and the Elephant Park residential development in Elephant and Castle, London, in the past year.

Refurbishment, new-build and fit-out contractor Ellmer Construction fared better, with turnover marginally up at £82m and operating profit rising to £2.4m.

Current projects include fit-out work at Google’s new offices in King’s Cross.

Overall, Byrne said its financial performance had been strong against a “very challenging” economic backdrop, closing with a cash balance of £24.1m.

“Though the market is challenging, we see no let-up in the projects that suit our skill set and capabilities,” said director Michael Byrne.

“We expect to deliver our targeted turnover this year, and will steadily grow the business with a keen eye on profitability and negotiating works to help deliver this.”

Byrne was one of CN’s top ground engineering contractors in 2022 but dropped out of the top flight this year.

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