Exeter-based contractor Rok Property Solutions this week unveiled an improved set of interim results and announced that it had acquired facilities management firm Retail Maintenance Services.
Rok, which changed its name from EBC earlier this year, posted a £1.2m pre-tax profit for the six months to 30 June. This is a £2.45m turnaround after the group lost £1.25m during the same period last year. Turnover increased 27% from £43.6m to £55.5m.

Chief executive Garvis Snook, who has overhauled the group, said he was happy with Rok's improving performance but noted that construction margins must improve. Construction margins rose to 1.8%, after losses last year. Snook wants them to reach 3%.

Snook said the firm would save £1.5m this financial year and £2m after that from its decision to cut 100 administrative posts. He said: "The savings are already having an impact on this set of results."

Snook said RMS would be integrated into Rokforce, the group's repair, maintenance and FM division. Rok paid £4.6m for RMS.

He said: "It's a big step for us, but it was always part of our strategy to grow in this area. We now have three legs to our business: construction, property and repair and maintenance. RMS gives us nationwide presence."

He added the FM sector was also more resilient than traditional contracting in a recession.

RMS provides repair and maintenance services to retail and insurance clients. It is based in Glasgow but operates throughout the UK. RMS made a pre-tax profit of £391,000 on turnover of £4m for the year to 30 September 2000.

The two pieces of good news helped boost Rok's share price, which rose 4p to 123p soon after the announcements. It later settled at around 121p.

The RMS acquisition follows the purchase of property developer Rokeagle in March for £14.7m. Snook, who took over last July, has transformed Rok from a sleepy South-west contractor into a business with three income streams. In the process, the share price has risen by half from 80p, and at least 11 institutional investors, including Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse, have bought stakes.