Electrical contractor reports challenging six-month trading period

T Clarke, One New Change scheme

T Clarke was electrical contractor on the One New Change scheme

Pre-tax profits at electrical contractor T Clarke fell by two-thirds in the first six months of the year to just £500k as the firm was hit by the continuing weak market for M&E firms.

Pre-tax profits were down from £1.4m in the same period on 2011, on revenues of £90.7m, down 2% on the previous year.

Chair Russell Race said the six months to June 30 2012 had been “marked by a lack of confidence across the sector” and had “unsurprisingly” seen slower trading than had been hoped, and pressure on margins.

However, the firm highlighted a range of projects it had won in the last six months, including

3 Quays Residential Development, London, and 240 Blackfriars commercial office scheme for Great Portland Estates, and said a number of projects were due to start on site shortly.

The last six months has seen a number of major M&E firms fall into administration, including MJN Colston, Airedale Group, and, most recently, parts of Rotary Group.

The firm said that opportunities are taking longer than expected to convert into firm orders, which was often “as a result of a value engineering process.”

It added that economic conditions meant that “core markets will continue to face material margin pressure” and that it could not promise an increase in profit margins until economic recovery “and a rebound in confidence.”