The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 20 January 2006

Major planning permission boost

as Barr announces annual results

BARR Holdings Limited, the construction, quarrying, waste management and industrial group, has received approval on a major quarry extension in Ayrshire as it announces annual results to March 2005.

Following a year of considerable investment and consolidation, Barr Holdings has announced profits for the year to March 2005 of £455,000, compared to £2.252 million the previous year, which had benefited materially from a number of non-recurring factors. The underlying profits from operations continued to improve in the year and management figures for the current year have shown a significant upturn in the company’s performance, with profit for the first six months exceeding last year by more than £1 million.

Group non-executive chairman Bernard Solomons said: "The year to March 2005 saw the group make considerable investments, such as rebuilding our steel fabrication factory at Creetown, new quarry plant and major development work within our waste business, and the current year has seen the benefit of this strategy."

Executive deputy chairman Anthony Rush said: "The group’s pre-tax profit in the first half significantly exceeds the full year’s performance for 2004/05. In particular, the turnover of our construction group is up over 50% year-on-year in the first six months and is producing satisfactory margins, while all other activities are reporting improvements on last year."

The planning permission to extend the Swinlees Quarry near Dalry is a major boost for the construction industry in North Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and East and South Ayrshire as it is the only operating quarry producing crushed hard rock coated roadstone and ready-mix concrete in its immediate area.

The planning permission, granted by North Ayrshire Council after approval was recommended by the council’s planning department, will extend the life of the quarry by ten years.

Anthony Rush said: "This enables us to maintain the best practical environmental option for the local area by using a substantial and valuable local resource, helping to reduce vehicle emissions and HGV lorry journeys which would have been a consequence of transporting similar materials from elsewhere in Scotland.

"The approval fits in well with our strategy of ensuring Barr is a growing national company which has a healthy awareness of our importance to the local economy of Ayrshire, where we employ over 600 people."

Following a significant restructuring since May 2003, the company, which employs over 900 people and is now the largest Scottish-headquartered construction group, has enjoyed a rapid recovery in its fortunes, with all divisions operating profitably.

Barr now boasts a construction order book over £350 million and a pipeline of opportunities for the next two years. The company is also the largest independent quarrying company in Scotland and is also a significant operator in the UK structural steel market.

Barr announced late last year that it was exploring options regarding its future after receiving approaches from a number of suitors and this process is continuing.

Bernard Solomons said: "Whilst remaining a thriving, independent company is a viable way forward, the board and management will have to consider whether this could be further boosted by being part of a bigger organisation. We have a duty to our employees and shareholders to explore all the options open to us before any decisions are made. The company will be completing its strategic review shortly."

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