Irish contractor reports £5m profit from high-profile projects

John Sisk, the UK arm of the privately owned Irish contractor, has reported a pre-tax profit of £5m after undertaking a string of high-profile projects. This is a rise of more than 35% on the previous year.

The increase for the year to 31 December 2006 was achieved despite a 16% dip in turnover, which fell to £211m from £250m in 2005.

Pierce O’Shea, Sisk’s managing director, said the firm was aiming to raise its turnover for 2007 to more than £260m.

He said Sisk had increased its investment in its rail business, and in the Manchester and Bristol regions.

John Sisk refurbished the Wembley Arena for Quintain
John Sisk refurbished the Wembley Arena for Quintain

He confirmed that the firm was planning to use its extra cash to expand its PFI involvement beyond contracting into equity investment. He said: “We continue to be a cash-rich company with no borrowings. To leverage this advantage, we are seeking joint venture opportunities in property and PFI.”

The company’s results were boosted by a series of high-profile project completions, including the refurbishment of Wembley Arena for developer Quintain, and the conversion of the former Wellcome Trust headquarters near Euston into a museum, cultural centre and library.

The company had a significant workload in the residential and regeneration sectors, where its completions included an apartment complex at King Square, Bristol, for Urban Creation, and a 260-unit apartment scheme in central Birmingham for Kings Oak.

Sisk also invested strongly in its pension scheme over the period as part of a three-year plan to substantially eradicate its pension deficit.

O’Shea said: “The company’s investment in improving the pension scheme will help us to recruit and retain talented people by better recognising their efforts and loyalty.”

The contractor’s Irish parent company, Sisk Group, also performed strongly during the period. It reported a profit rise of 6.2% to *72.4m (£50m). Turnover rose 11.1% to *1.67bn (£1.1bn).