Construction and property consultant AYH lifted pre-tax profit 20% to £915 000 for the year to 31 December 1998; turnover increased 19% to £11.1m.

The company also said year-end workload levels were well above those of 12 months earlier, and it forecast that pre-tax profit would break the £1m barrier next year, with turnover approaching £12.5m.

This month, AYH changed from a private to a public limited company, thus losing its partnership status.

Chairman David Thompson said the changes gave him “considerable optimism” for the future.

“These changes now complete the transition from a ‘partnership’ to a ‘corporate’ philosophy within the group while retaining 100% of the ownership internally,” he said.

AYH has instigated a policy of greater employee ownership in the business. In December 1998, almost half the business was sold by four directors to a group of 23 managers without increasing corporate debt or introducing external shareholders. Nearly 60 of AYH’s 175-strong staff now own shares in the company.