Sheffield-based contractor and housebuilder Henry Boot has turned in a record profit, despite planning problems and a fiercely competitive tendering market.

The firm made £10.6m before tax in the year to 31 December 1998, up 5% on 1997. This was on turnover of £172.1m – a rise of 6% on the previous year.

But chairman John Reis said Henry Boot was reviewing its status as a public company because smaller construction firms were the butt of so much adverse comment in the City.

He said the company’s order book remained firm, but that the housebuilding arm had been hampered by planning delays.

He said: “This has degenerated to such an extent that we now find it necessary to allow for planning delays in our development programmes and unfortunately, there seems little desire by local authorities to deal with the problem.” Reis said the contracting business had found the going tough. He said: “The forward order book into 1999 was down on previous years, with a marked reduction in civils work and the public sector as a whole placing greater emphasis on private finance initiative schemes, which are extremely expensive to pursue.”