Profit rises to £5m despite slow start to the year in contracting and construction services.

Developer contractor Pochin has increased pre-tax profit by 13% to £5.08m for the year end 31 May 2004.

Pochin said the profit rise was due to its policy of investing in joint ventures, such as the JV with UK Land & Property, which will develop a 30-acre site next to Hawarden Airport in Flintshire. In total, the property investment and development arm contributed £3.3m towards operating profit.

In its construction services division Pochin said a disappointing first half dented final results but said a new pricing policy helped improve performance in the final quarter.

The Avoidatrench susbsidiary was also affected by delays in major infrastructure works, but Pochin said it was trading profitably by year end and had a “reasonable” forward order book.

Pochin said that performance was boosted by the acquisition of Raynesway Concrete Pumping from Balfour Beatty, which resulted in increased sales without significantly higher overheads.

The contracting side of the business also had a slow start to the year but Pochin said the securing of a number of major contracts helped lift results. The North West-based company said the order book stood at £61m compared to £42m last year.

Chairman John Woodcock said: “The combination of a good order book in the contracting and construction services divisions, and some promising preoperty developments under way, gives me confidence that the current year will again be one of progress for the group.“

Other highlights included the start of work on 46 homes on a site in the Potteries and the start of construction of a 780 bedroom-student accommodation units at Crewe, which is pre-let to the Manchester Metropolitan University.

Dividends for the year rose to 4.65p per share while group turnover remained unchanged at £66m.