Martin Smout, chief executive of GB Building Solutions, has said the company boosted repeat business from 60% to 69% last year, to help combat the recession

Speaking after the contractor unveiled its results for the year to 30 June this week, Smout said: “More than ever it’s about understanding your client.

“As budgets for schemes get trimmed you need to sit down with them and find a solution that still delivers.”

Turnover at the company fell 5.8% from £207.2m to £195.2m in 2009 while pre-tax profit rose 31% to £174,378.

Last year’s profit figure was low by comparison after the repayment of loan notes to MJ Gleeson, the company from which Smout led a management buyout in July 2005.

This year’s figures were also affected by £930,000 of restructuring costs that saw headcount fall from 350 to 250. Smout ruled out more redundancies and said the group had the right structure in place to weather the recession.

He added that the company had also become an investor in PFI schemes over the past 12 months, including the Brunswick social housing project for Manchester council.

He said: “It’s better to be further up the food chain, adding value.”

The company ended the year with £17.3m cash in the bank while the pay of the highest-paid director rose from £270,246 to £280,257.