Business Irish

Thursday 23 March 2017

Cost-cutting helps Bowen boost profits

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

CORK building giant Bowen Construction managed to boost operating profits by more than 10pc last year despite suffering a 35pc collapse in turnover, new accounts reveal.

"I don't see 2009 as a negative year, I see it as a fantastic positive," said chief executive John Bowen. "Against an unprecedented backdrop we managed to remain profitable."

The rise in operating profits from €4.4m to almost €4.9m came as the company slashed costs across the business, including cutting directors' pay by €2.2m and reducing its headcount from 312 to 202.

"It's not been done without any pain," Mr Bowen acknowledged. "The cuts had to be done -- do it early and do it deep, that's the only way."

Mr Bowen said he wouldn't expect "anything like the same cuts" in 2010, and he is also hopeful revenues will stabilise close to last year's €140m mark.

"There's definitely a sense that things are turning," he said.

"The market was at a level that was unsustainably low -- it overcorrected -- now that's coming back."

While large contracts are "understandably" in short supply, Bowen is seeing a "surprising number of smaller contracts" come on to the market, Mr Bowen added.

Irish Independent

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