Brian May, the chief executive of Renew Holdings, has said the company will increase its reliance on the specialist engineering division as a result of the recession

Giving its results for the six months to 31 March, May said the arm’s contribution had grown from 15% in 2005 to 40% and the figure was likely to increase.

The division includes its nuclear operation, which is on four frameworks run by the Sellafield reprocessing plant in Cumbria. Turnover rose 15% from £50.4m to £58.2m.

This month it bought Mothersill Engineering, a nuclear machining and fabrication business, for £400,000. May said he was seeking more bolt-on businesses in the nuclear and water sectors.

Turnover across the group fell 11% from £192.9m to £171.6m, while the specialist building division, which includes Allenbuild and Britannia Construction, recorded a fall of 19%, from £140m to £113m.

Pre-tax profit across the group fell 40% from £3.9m to £2.3m after exceptional items, which included £1m for the settlement of an outstanding contract.

The group ended the period with net cash of £17.5m, down from £25.7m in 2008.