Ibex Interiors, the interior fit-out subsidiary of the John Doyle Group, has increased its sales in the wake of the collapse of several competitors in the sector

The fit-out group reported that its turnover for 2004 increased 30.2% to £82m, £63m more than the preceding year. Pre-tax profit dipped slightly by £50,000 to £1.8m for December 2004. These figures indicate a margin of 2.2%.

The demise of competitors Bellwater, Benson and Spectrum Projects over recent months, as well as the establishment of a regional office in Milton Keynes, were cited as the main drivers of growth.

Stef Stefanou, group chairman of John Doyle, said: “We were pleased to see our position as one of the key central London players consolidated and our investment in the regions beginning to bear fruit.”

Mark Taylor, group managing director, added that forward orders for 2005 were in line with expectations and a positive upward trend in the market was beginning to emerge.

Ibex was formed in 1996 and has emerged as one of the key players in the central London fit-out market.

The collapse of Surrey-based Bellwater in January followed the failure of two other major players in the previous six months. The larger of the two, Benson, had a turnover of £125m; Spectrum had a turnover of £61m. Bellwater went into administration with the loss of 55 jobs a few weeks after one of its subsidiaries went under in Sweden.

According to a statement of affairs prepared by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Bellwater’s administrator, the company left total debts of nearly £3.9m. Bellwater will remain in administration while PwC collects outstanding debts. The firm will then be wound up and its assets distributed to creditors.

Bellwater, which was formed in 1991, specialised in fit-out work for IT offices and datacentres, but had been targeting other sectors after its core work began to dry up. It recruited a managing director to spearhead an ultimately unsuccessful push into the commercial sector.

Ibex’s performance for 2004 compares favourably with the recent results of other major players. The regional office established in Milton Keynes in 2004 generated £12m of business in cities including Leicester, Luton, Birmingham and St Albans.

Ibex promoted construction director Mark Taylor to managing director in January, replacing Steve Faddy. The latter is now chairman.

Ranked by margin, Overbury is the fit-out sector’s most successful firm, achieving returns of 4.4%.