Leadbitter is set to report a 15% profit rise on the back of its acquisition of Denne Construction last year.

The contractor, which has offices throughout the Midlands and the South, will this month report a pre-tax profit of £5.4m for the year to 31 December 2006. Turnover rose 10% to £185m during the period, up from £168m in 2005.

Leadbitter, which is owned by quoted Dutch company Heijmans, was boosted by its acquisition of Kent-based Denne Construction for an undisclosed sum last year. This strengthened its presence in the housing market, and split its focus evenly between housing and construction.

Bob Rendell, Leadbitter’s managing director, said the company was looking to make more purchases, mainly to extend its trading area north of Oxford. He said: “We’re looking at further acquisitions in line with a strategy of managed growth. Any deals are likely to extend our regional presence. To maintain identity and culture you need to grow at a sensible, controlled pace.” He said the company was looking to grow its construction and housing operations, particularly social housing.

Here’s one it did earlier: Leadbitter’s St Gregory school in Oxford
Here’s one it did earlier: Leadbitter’s St Gregory school in Oxford

Earlier this month, Leadbitter announced a record forward order book of £335m. It secured 21 projects worth a total of £114m in April, including the £70m regeneration of the Stanhope Estate in Ashford, Kent, for the Chrysalis consortium. This involves refurbishing housing and providing infrastructure.

It has framework agreements with a number of housing associations, including Sovereign and Catalyst, and and also with Reading university, Oxford Brookes university and a number of local authorities, including Oxfordshire council.

Leadbitter is headquartered in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and has offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Plymouth and Southampton.