Incoming chief Garvis Snook announces redundancies at smallest listed contractor in order to realise its “enormous potential to develop”.
The smallest contractor on the stockmarket, ECB, has made 90 staff redundant in a shake-up by new chief executive Garvis Snook. Snook, who joined the £90m-turnover West Country builder only two months ago from Morgan Sindall, said the changes were intended to rid the firm of its “good, solid, but perhaps slightly staid image”.

The job losses will mainly come in the back office and support functions, and are expected to cost about £700 000. Staff numbers will fall from 750 to 660 and the business will have a flatter operational structure. The company is planning to invest in IT to perform some of the functions carried out by the staff who were made redundant.

Snook said EBC, which does insurance-based home repair work, building work up to £15m, property development and materials production, had “enormous potential to develop and go places”.

As well as recapturing ground from rivals in its traditional South-western market, he wants EBC to expand its presence in Reading and in Eastleigh, Hampshire.

But Snook, who was managing director of Morgan Sindall’s South-western business Stansell, said he had no plans to follow the trend among small listed housebuilders to go private.

He said that those who believed they could shake off the disciplines of the market by leaving the stock exchange were mistaken because venture capitalists providing private capital wanted their pound of flesh just as much as institutional investors.

EBC is worth about £7.5m on the stockmarket, making it tiny even by the construction sector’s standards. But Snook said the slimming down was part of a strategy to make the company the “best construction firm in terms of creating shareholder value and returns”.

EBC’s share price rose 6p to 74.5p on the day of the announcement.