M&E contractor says strategy helped return firm to black last year

NG Bailey has said it is moving away from fixed-price schemes and negotiating deals direct with the end client as the firm returned to the black last year after losses on lump sum jobs helped blow a hole in its accounts the 12 months before.

The M&E specialist said it turned in a record performance with turnover hitting the £600m mark for the first time, a rise of 13% in the year to 1 March 2024, while pre-tax profit came in at just under £11m from last year’s £25m loss which included a £7m hit on its investment in failed car battery manufacturer Britishvolt.

In a note accompanying the accounts, the firm said its engineering division, which had previously been hit by project delays, inflation and firms going bust, said “a renewed focus on quality margins and risk management” helped return the division to profit.

NG Bailey team on site

NG Bailey said it is doing more work direct for the end client

It added this had been helped by a “strategic shift in the mix of work away from fixed-price lump sum contracts and towards commercially benign contract structures.

“There is a growing proportion of arrangements directly with the end client rather than through a main contractor.”

The firm, which last month saw chief operating officer Jonathan Stockton take over from the retiring David Hurcomb in the chief executive’s role, said the average number of employees was up 6% to 3,400 with its order book at the year-end up £100m to £1.3bn.

It said it had paid down its debt from £11m to zero while its cash and investments stood at £70m, down from £83m.