Property support services firm reports £1.8m pre-tax profit on revenue of £101m

Styles & Wood has sought to draw a line under previous difficulties and pointed to results for 2011 as evidence that it has successfully restructured its operations.

The property-support services provider said profit before tax for the year to 31 December 2011 was £1.8m, up from £500,000 the previous year - a threefold increase.

In 2010 the firm, which serves major retailers, banks and commercial organisations, saw a drop in turnover of almost 29% and the departure of chief executive Ivan McKeever towards the close of the year. But the 2011 figures showed revenue steadying at £101m, up 1% on 2010.

Chief executive Tony Lenehan told Building that the company’s restructure to a more customer-focused model had been successful, and that market trends among high street banks, public sector operators, and the office sector appeared to favour the firm.

Lenehan said the root of the restructure had involved responding to different needs of clients within the same sector.

“It was a shift in terms of our organisational focus,” he said.

“We had been geared up to co-ordinating our offer by sector not individual businesses, and it was clear that approach was not so appropriate for the current economic environment.”

Lenehan said that, instead, the restructure had sought to build teams dedicated to individual major clients.

Some £47.9m of the firm’s 2011 revenue came from framework arrangements in the banking sector.

Lenehan said Britain’s major banks had a “renewed focus of attention” on retail customers and the high street, and had extensive investment plans for brand repositioning and refreshing their retail outlets.

He added that branch sales connected to some of the nation’s part-nationalised banks would also be a factor.

Styles & Wood also reported that government spending cuts were resulting in a shift towards the refurbishment and remodelling of existing buildings, away from new-build.

As part of its market outlook, the firm said there was “clear evidence” of major sustainable spending programmes in specific segments of the retail sector, particularly the market leaders in food retail.

It said there was a shortage of “Grade A” stock office space in the capital and regional city centres, exacerbated by restraints on funding for investment in new buildings - meaning that retrofit, refurbishment and remodelling of existing space would form the principal focus for occupiers requiring upgrade over the short to medium term.

In terms of its order book, the company said its “weighted sightline” was tracking “more than 10% ahead of the comparative period for 2011”.