The chief executive of Rok has said turnover will fall back below £1bn in 2009

The admission by Garvis Snook comes after the company boosted turnover by 16% from £875m to £1bn in 2008. He said: “It will drop by 20% this year, mostly in the building division.”

Pre-tax profit at the repair and maintenance specialist fell by 76% from £24.5m to £5.9m in 2008 after a poor second half in which its commercial property arm closed.

In November, Rok’s share price halved to 35p in one day after it issued a profit warning. At the time, Snook said: “The lights went out across the UK at the start of October.”

Despite the warning, chairman Stephen Pettit said the firm was well positioned, and pointed to £2.7bn of “visible future revenue”. He said: “While 2008 was a challenging year, we have responded swiftly to the changing climate and taken the necessary action to address our cost base.”

The turnover breakdown was: new build £564m (2007: £526m); planned repairs and maintenance £329m (£255m); and response maintenance £119m (£94m).

Snook added: “Our strategy has been to reposition the business away from low-margin contracting into higher-margin repairs and maintenance, for which the business model is based on long-term framework agreements with good visibility of forward revenues.”