Craig Jones, chief executive of Verry Construction, has accused firms of buying public sector work to combat the recession

Speaking after the company announced its results for the 18 months to 30 June 2008, he said new entrants to public sector markets were pricing jobs “very aggressively”.

“These companies don’t have any heritage or experience and some of the work simply can’t be done for the prices they are quoting,” he said.

Turnover at Verry was £118m over the 18-month period, compared with £106m in the preceding 12 months. It climbed out of the red to record a pre-tax profit of £251,836.

Despite ending the year with net debt of £5.9m, Jones said the company had strong order book visibility into 2011. “We’re carrying over £112m into 2009/10 and about £100m into 2010/11,” he said.

He added: “The decision I took two years ago to future-proof the business by focusing on public sector work is paying off.”

About 80% of its turnover comes from the public sector and Jones said the ratio between public and private wouldn’t change. “We still want to do the niche specialist jobs like the Stirling prize-winning Young Vic theatre.”

He was upbeat about 2009 but said his optimism was “tempered by the wider liquidity and credit situation”.