Billington chief executive Steve Fareham says markets are improving and the cycle is turning

After a spate of insolvencies in the steel sector last year, markets have improved, according to Billington Steel chief executive Steve Fareham. “We have picked up a number of contracts from rivals who have gone out of business in the last year and increased our market share,” he said.

Fareham believes the cycle is now starting to turn, as the supply and demand balance is returning to normal. “I believe we have reached the bottom of the cycle,” said Fareham. “We have seen a number of major and minor competitors removed from the sector, either voluntarily or as a result of financial collapse.”

Steel prices are expected to increase in the near future but there is “light at the end of the tunnel”, according to Fareham.
Work in the retail sector is expected to pick up as supermarkets expand, and Billington has also formed a joint venture, BS2, thought to include Bourne Steel, to target the London commercial sector.

“BS2 is intended to focus on the high rise London commercial market, which appears to be an increasing opportunity in 2012 and beyond,” said chairman Peter Hems.

2010 was a tough year for the firm, which reported its results this week. Revenes fell 26% to £42.3m, compared with £57.2m in 2009, while profits fell from £5.3m in 2009, to £1.4m in 2010.