Social housing contractor issues confident trading update

Social housing contractor Mears has confirmed it spent £1.5m buying up the Bristol-business of collapsed contractor Rok, as predicted by Building.

In a confident trading statement this morning, the firm said it was now the leading UK provider of social housing contracting and had bought contracts relating to kitchen and bathroom installations, and roofing and cladding work from five former Rok customers in Bristol.

However, it admitted the contracts were primarily framework places, so it wasn’t immediately attributing a value to them within its order book, but said the business was profitable. The £1.5m charge will cover the debts of the business.

The firm said its order book was now worth £2.7bn, meaning 90% of the work for 2011 and 80% of work for 2012 had already been secured. It also said the final three months of 2010 had been a particularly busy period for new contract mobilisations, but despite this the group had carried on generating cash from profits.

It added it has bought a small home improvement business from housing association Anchor Housing, which provides handyman services for older tenants.

David Miles, chief executive of Mears, said 2010 had been a watershed year for the company, making it “the market leader in both social housing and domiciliary care.”

He said: “We have won record levels of contracts in both divisions. We have the right management team in place to take our business forward and capitalise on the many opportunities in our growth markets.”