Electrical contractor sees “immense pressure” on margins despite project wins

Pre tax profits at electrical contractor T Clarke more than halved despite rising turnover in the first half of the year, the firm announced today.

T Clarke reported pre-tax profits of £1.4m, down from £3.2m for the same period last year, on revenues up 8% to £92.6m.

The company said underlying profits, before one-off restructuring and acquisition costs, were £2.2m, down from £3.8m. The forward order book is also 13% down on the same point last year, at £193m, and the firm said margins on current bids remained under “immense pressure.”

The statement said: “In many instances the number of bidders for projects remains excessively high, which can lead to the project being awarded at an unsustainable level. We have been reluctant to become involved in such bidding wars.

Nevertheless, the firm said it had won 11 major contracts in the last six months, including for work on the planned cable car over the Thames in east London, and the Herzog de Meuron-designed extension to the Tate Modern.

Chief executive Mark Lawrence said the firm’s core markets remained challenging, and he was cautious about predictoing the timing of recovery. “Given the increased levels of competition across the market, margins remain under pressure. The group is very active in tendering for work, but we will not be drawn into accepting projects where we cannot meet our financial expectations,” he said.