Management statement says firm has enjoyed intensive period of new social-housing contracts

David Miles

Repair and maintenance contractor Mears Group said it had witnessed the most intensive period of new social-housing contracts in the company’s history, with eight new starts since the beginning of 2012.

In an interim management statement today, the firm said the new contracts meant that despite the wind-down of Decent Homes Standard works, it still anticipated a solid operating margin in the sector - even accounting for additional costs associated with the early stages of the new contracts.

The statement said trading for the group was “solid” across all divisions, in line with management expectations.

It said the group’s order book currently stood at £2.8bn and its bid pipeline was in excess of £3bn, with immediate bidding opportunities for the contracts due to start in the next 12 months standing at approximately £2bn.

Group chief executive David Miles said that Mears had demonstrated its ability to embrace change and adapt to the challenges that the current economic environment.

“Mears’ positive momentum positions us well to benefit from an active contract bidding market,” he said.

“I remain confident in the prospects for the future growth of the group.

“Our Social Housing business has long been recognised as the market leader in terms of operational performance and tenant satisfaction.

“Our differentiated offering focussed on quality of service is providing now, more than ever, opportunities to further reinforce our position as the partner of choice for customers seeking solutions to important and significant underlying needs.

“I am proud of our achievements in the care sector and our ability to offer vulnerable people high quality services.

“Moreover, we are achieving strong margins in what remains a complex politically-led market. We continue to seek acquisitions to broaden our care offerings where appropriate.

“The well documented challenges in the care market are likely to accelerate in 2012, and Mears continues to be at the forefront of seeking pragmatic solutions to these challenges and I remain very positive of our future role in the care market.”

Miles added he was disappointed that the government had delayed its much anticipated Social Care White Paper.