Private equity backed firm boosts sales and profits

Forrest, which is owned by the private equity firm LDC, increased sales by 11.5% to £52.3m in the 12 months to 31 August 2010. During the 2009 finnacial year its sales were £46.8m.

While the North-west-based firm does not report pre-tax profit, its underlying operating profit increased 9.5% to £6m in 2010, compared to £5.5m in 2009.

The firm, which is headquartered in Preston, provides regeneration, refurbishment and responsive maintenance services to social housing groups and public sector organisations.

The group said the market for social housing spend in the North-west remained strong during the year, with the vast majority of the group’s clients now outside of local authority control. Its current forward order book is the strongest in the company’s 55-year history, although it did not disclose any values.

Chief executive Lee McCarren said: “Our continued focus on delivering the best quality of service and fully integrated support services for our partners is helping to generate both loyalty from existing clients and significant new orders. Combined with our geographic expansion and investment in our teams, service lines, infrastructure and expertise, we see significant opportunity to continue growing our share of the market.”

Although operating predominantly in the north-west of England, Forrest said its expansion into West Yorkshire had been another driver of growth, adding that continued investment in the region would be made over the coming year as it seeks to become a partner of choice across the North.

Forrest increased its workforce by 10%, to over 500, in the last six months, including 50 apprentices.