Concrete supplier reports £9.6m first loss after demand for pre-cast concrete products falls 25.7%

Irish concrete supplier Readymix has cut 15% of its staff and reported a £9.6m loss for the first half of the year, due to the sharpening downturn in the construction sector.

It said the collapse in the housebuilding sector saw sales of its pre-cast concrete products fall 25.7%, and said it expected no rapid turnaround in its fortunes.

Readymix told the London Stock Exchange that overall sales were down 9.4% to £75.3m, with revenues from its concrete and aggrgates business down by 5.5%. The £9.6m pre-tax loss compares to a profit of £13.5m in the six months to June 2007.

The firm said in a statement: “Demand for our products has reduced sharply, driven by the sustained weakness in the housing and commercial construction sectors…Lower revenues combined with the higher cost of raw materials, distribution, fuel and energy”

The firm has also reduced the number of sites it operates over by 12%, and said it will continue to focus on how it can cut costs at a time of “very difficult” trading conditions.

It added: “Revenues will continue to decline as a result of the continued slowdown in the housing sector, the weakness of the commercial developments and the slow start of new infrastructure projects.

At the same time, cost increases across all lines will continue to pressure margins. Against this background, the priorities for management are continued cost reduction and focusing our investment programme on projects to deliver efficiency savings.”

It added that it expected to have to sell parts of its business in order to make a profit next year.