Firm says move into concrete frames now paying off

Brendan Kerr Keltbray 2017

Keltbray is looking at branching out into other sectors after saying its move into concrete frames last summer is starting to pay off with a number of wins.

Best known as a demolition and piling contractor, the firm took on a number of assets from collapsed Scottish firm Dunne Group which had been working on a number of high-profile concrete jobs including a residential tower in London’s Elephant & Castle for Mace as well as Multiplex’s One Blackfriars tower up the road at Blackfriars Bridge.

Keltbray chief executive Brendan Kerr (pictured) said its new concrete business recently started on a £34m job on the Lillie Square residential project at the Earls’ Court redevelopment in west London.

He added: “In terms of one of our first projects at £34m, we’re quite please that’s a decent project to win in the first eight, nine months of trading.”

Kerr said the firm, which back in 2006 posted a turnover of £75m, is eyeing other additions as its looks to get revenue up to £400m next year.

He said: “We will probably, if we have to, go on the acquisition trail and do a bit of diversification to maintain the right sort of size of business.

“But diversification within out skillset, we’re not going to become carpet layers.”

Among its targets is a specialist infrastructure arm which although Kerr cautioned: “That’s dependent of course on the government actually investing in infrastructure.”

Kerr said it was mulling a move into infrastructure as its core commercial work in London and the south-east had slowed up towards the end of last year.

He added it was looking at business outside its south-east heartland with the firm expected to be on the lookout for work for its piling and concrete businesses – compared to complicated demolition work which tended to be centred on London.

Keltbray’s demolition arm has been working on a number of high-profile jobs including work for the HS2 railway as well as work at the upcoming expansion of Heathrow Airport.

The firm said it has now closed a business that built golf courses using material reclaimed from its demolition work just four years after launching it.

Last week, the firm reported that its pre-tax profit soared by 126% in 2016 to £23.4m, up from £10.4m the previous year.

Revenue was also up by over a third for the year ended 31 October 2016 to £369m from £272m.