Steel specialist benefits from huge demand for housing as turnover reaches $156.3m

AIM-listed structural steel specialist Panceltica has quadrupled turnover in the six months to 30 June 2008 and said it will become a billion-pound company in three years.

Turnover at the Qatar-based company, which defied the downturn to float in March this year, rose from $31m (£17m) to $156.3m (£85.7m).

After one-off costs of £41.5m associated with the flotation, it made a pre-tax loss of $19.8m (£10.9m) over the year.

The group’s main activity is building houses in the Middle East from galvanised steel and it recently signed a deal with Saudi Arabia worth about $2bn (£1.1bn).

Paul Fraser, chief executive, said: “The Saudis need four million houses and that’s still a conservative estimate.”

It is currently working with Miller Group in the Middle East and Fraser said he was in talks with other UK players in the region. “Pick any big UK company in the Middle East and we’re talking to them,” he said.

Fraser said he is looking to move into other countries including Brazil and India. Fraser said: “This only needs a semi-skilled labour force, it’s like snapping Mecano together.”

The company provides machinery to the local market and receives an average of 10p per metre of steel because it owns the technology.

Fraser said there were no plans to enter the UK, describing it as a “sterile market”.