Thursday 13 December 2018

Profits soar to €20m at Sisk firm as turnover hit

On board: Sicon chairman Gary McGann
On board: Sicon chairman Gary McGann
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Turnover dropped almost 15pc at the company behind the Sisk Group last year.

The company, Sicon, saw reduced revenues in Ireland, the UK and Europe in the year ending December 31 2017.

Profit for the financial year rose however, from €9.3m to €20.6m.

It's understood Sicon took a strategic decision to avoid low-margin projects, seeking to drive profitability rather than turnover.

"The group's Irish and European businesses performed very strongly in the current year. With the ongoing strengthening of the Irish economy, the group is well-positioned to maintain and grow its profitability levels in 2018," the accounts state.

Alongside the John Sisk & Son construction assets, Sicon also controls a retail distribution business called Origo Distribution. It distributes products including Bosch kitchen appliances.

In construction, the company said its Irish business had seen growth in the data centre, life sciences, pharmaceutical and retail sectors among others.

"The business has a strong order book for 2018 with a good line of sight into 2019", it said.

In the UK, the company returned to profitability in 2017, after what it said were "several challenging years".

"The business was restructured successfully and has delivered key projects during the year. The business is well-positioned to grow its profit levels in the coming year and also has a strong order book for 2019," according to the accounts.

The company also said it was planning to exit the United Arab Emirates this year, having started winding down its activities there.

Sicon is chaired by Aryzta and Paddy Power Betfair chairman Gary McGann, the former CEO of Smurfit Kappa and Aer Lingus. It also has a property portfolio management company called Korine.

With the Irish construction sector growing strongly, the outlook for Sisk appears good, given that most of its business occurs here.

However, data released by Ulster Bank earlier in the week said the pace of growth slowed in September.

The pace of housebuilding slowed for the second month in a row in September, hitting an 11-month low.

However, activity in the commercial sector rose sharply, while activity in the civil-engineering sector contracted in the month.

Simon Barry, chief economist for the Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said survey respondents noted improving customer demand and new business flows.

The survey found that rising demand for inputs and shortages of materials contributed to longer delivery times from suppliers during the third quarter.

Irish Independent

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