Business Irish

Monday 23 October 2017

Profits soar at Walls after buy-out

A digital image of the new Central Bank building on North Wall Quay in Dublin
A digital image of the new Central Bank building on North Wall Quay in Dublin

Gordon Deegan

Pre-tax profits at the construction firm currently building the new €80m Central Bank HQ soared more than ten fold to €3.8m last year.

New accounts filed for 2015 and 2014 show that Walls Construction's revenues rose from €84.39m to €101.49m in the 12 months to the end of December last. Established in 1950, Walls is one of Ireland's oldest and largest construction firms.

Last year it landed the prestigious Central Bank building contract that is due to be completed on Dublin's North Wall Quay later this year.

Other current projects include the LinkedIn European headquarters and the DAA office building redevelopment at Dublin Airport.

The firm's pre-tax profits to the end of December 2014 totalled €363,219.

The firm's 2015 pre-tax profits included an exceptional gain of €1.46m related mainly to a write down in related party creator balances.

The business was subject to an investor backed Management Buy-Out (MBO) in 2015 that was led by management and a number of private investors that includes a number of shareholders in PJ Walls Holdings Ltd.

The accounts disclose that the transaction had an acquisition cost of €5.5m and as a result of the acquisition, the business is no longer a part of the Nama and bank financing arrangement of PJ Walls Holdings Ltd. The figures show that the firm paid dividends of €500,267 in 2014 and a further €350,000 was paid out last year.

"Given that the company has traded successfully for 66 years and has its pre-downturn management team intact, we look forward to continuing this year-on-year growth through 2016, 2017 and beyond," managing director Eugene O'Shea said yesterday.

Numbers employed last year rose from 139 to 156 and staff costs increased to €11.24m.

The directors' report states that they are satisfied that the next 12 months will see an increase in turnover and in light of the current increased level of tender inquiries and negotiation prospects, the next 24 months will see both a further increase in turnover and a modest increase in net margin.

Eight directors sit on the board, including three new appointees last year and directors' pay, including pensions last year increased from €919,356 to €1.3m.

Shareholder funds stood at €7m while accumulated profits totalled €5.54m. The firm's cash almost doubled to €2.25m.

The firm's other projects include 100 Mount St for Hardwicke and UCC Gateway in Cork.

Irish Independent

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