Keltbray MD says new structures business can avoid pitfalls faced by other concrete firms in recent years

Keltbray is aiming to hit the ground running with its new concrete business, targeting a turnover of £50m by October next year.

The specialist contractor, founded by Brendan Kerr (pictured), launched Keltbray Structures last week after buying parts of insolvent Dunne Group. It has also taken on the firm’s former boss Gordon Dunne as managing director of the new division.

Commenting on Dunne’s appointment, John Price, chief executive of Keltbray Structures and managing director of Keltbray, said: “He’s got a wealth of experience in reinforced concrete frames. He’s been doing it for a very long time having started with Ray O’Rourke, then he set up on his own and is now part of the Keltbray group.”

Keltbray last week completed the purchase of Dunne Group’s former yard and head office at Bathgate in Scotland and its plant used for the construction of reinforced concrete structures. It has so far hired 15 former Dunne staff, with plans to hire hundreds more as and when concrete work is picked up.

Price confirmed the new company had already put in two bids for work, adding: “A lot of our clients have been asking us to do it for some time and they all think it’s a good move for us.”

He added that the move would allow Keltbray to become “more of a national player”, adding to its offices in Ashford, Basildon, central London, Esher, Wales, Crewe, Rugby and Glasgow, as well as providing a “greater presence” in Scotland, where the firm is eying up work on offshore oil decommissioning programmes.

Keltbray Structures hopes to avoid the problems faced by Dunne Group and others such as PC Harrington Contactors, which entered administration in May last year, through “strength of management and good due processes and procedures,” Price said.

“With the loss of Harrington there was a player who was no longer in the sector and the potential therefore was growth space for someone else to offer the service and it’s a natural progression for Keltbray.

“Why not put the concrete in the hole we’ve dug,” he added.

Keltbray recorded a 25% jump in revenue to £272m for the year ended October 2015, up from £217m the previous year, and a 49% increase in pretax profit £10.9m, from £7.3m.