Losses on the stadium and other “troublesome projects” contributed to a £10m hole in the UK construction business’ books for the year to 31 December 1999. This follows a £26m provision in 1998 to cover losses on the project.
Laing Construction chairman Jim Armstrong insisted that all losses from the Cardiff project were now at an end. The UK construction division’s £9.9m operating loss in 1999 was down from a £22m loss the previous year. And the construction arm’s figures were helped by the international business posting an operating profit of £4.6m, an improvement on a £2.4m loss the year before.
Overall, Laing Group more than doubled pre-tax profit from £22.1m to £52.7m, on turnover up from £1.48bn to £1.56bn. This was helped by an £11.6m leap in pre-tax profit to £38.6m for the UK homes arm. However, Laing is leaving the US homes market after the strategic review announced last autumn.
We have a stronger management team. Laing today is a very different contractor from what it was three years ago
Jim Armstrong, Laing Construction
The review, in which Laing said it was to cut turnover by one-third and shed 850 staff, was seen as a reaction to the Cardiff project. Armstrong said the redundancies were being made as projects ended.
He was upbeat about the company’s future. “We have a stronger management team. Laing today is a very different contractor from what it was three years ago,” he said.