Bad debt takes gloss off improved annual numbers

Byrne has been forced to write off nearly £2m as a bad debt following Ilke Homes’ collapse over the summer which took the gloss off an improved set of annual results.

The concrete frame specialist, whose businesses also include fit-out firm Ellmer, said the modular housing specialist’s administration in June meant its groundworks business O’Keefe racked up a £1.9m bad debt as a result.

Byrne bought civils firm O’Keefe Group out of administration in summer 2022 and said that turnover in its first full year of trading hit £45m with an operating profit of £2.9m. But it said this number was “heavily impacted” by the Ilke Homes collapse.


Byrne said its concrete frame arm was hit by “turbulent” market conditions

The bad debt blunted the rise in overall pre-tax profit at the business, which was up 6% to £6.8m in the year to June on turnover up 25% to £191m.

Byrne, which has been owned by South African builder Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon since 2017, said its concrete arm had been hit by “very turbulent market conditions” which saw revenue drop 11% to £65m and operating profit slip from £4.7m to £2.5m, a fall of 47%.

Ellmer’s revenue edged up 2.5% to £82m but operating profit was up 42% to £2.4m with the firm’s current schemes including work at Google’s new headquarters in King’s Cross and luxury apartments at the Peninsula hotel in London’s Belgravia.

Cash at the bank dropped from £46.6m to £24.1m while the average number of monthly staff at the business during the year rose to 340 from 219, a jump of 55%.