New CEO eschews acquisitions

Bam Construct UK’s new chief executive James Wimpenny has said the contractor wants to grow organically rather than by bolting on acquired businesses.

As the firm, which is carrying out work on Argent’s schemes at King’s Cross in London as well as its Paradise scheme in Birmingham, having taken over a job to complete a building being built by the collapsed Carillion, reported pre-tax profits of £19.3m for 2017 on turnover of £957.5m, down 11%, Wimpenny also said a “particular focus in 2018 would be on modernising our business management systems to align with the fact that we are becoming a digital data-driven business”.

While 2017’s pre-tax profit fell 26%, after stripping out a £12m pension gain in 2016, last year’s underlying operating profit rose from £13m to £18.2m, up 40%.

Bam’s order book dipped by £30m to £1.6bn.

The firm’s construction business, the largest subsidiary of the Royal Bam-owned group, reported turnover of £903.6m, down 8.5% year-on-year.

Wimpenny, who replaced Graham Cash as chief executive in January, said: “Bam Construct UK has been consistently profitable for more than a decade. We operate in a high risk, low margin industry.”

Earlier this month Warwickshire-based builder Stepnell hired the former boss of Bam’s UK construction business, Richard Bailey, as a director.