Tuesday 17 September 2019

Road contract sees Wills Bros back in profit

Shareholder funds at the end of December last year totalled €12.19m (stock photo)
Shareholder funds at the end of December last year totalled €12.19m (stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

Civil engineering contractors, Wills Bros last year returned to profit after revenues surged by 46pc to €89m.

New accounts filed by the Co Mayo-based group show that the business recorded a pre-tax profit of €1.59m last year - a positive swing of €6.83m after having recorded a pre-tax loss of €5.24m in 2017.

According to the directors, the business securing an A6 roads project in Northern Ireland as part of a consortium "will underpin the group for the next few years".

The A6 contract valued at £143m (€158m) is a 26km stretch of road between Dungiven and Drumahoe and is part of the strategic A6 highway, which connects Belfast and Derry.

The directors said: "This contract and others take the group order book to its highest-ever level with around €135m of firm orders at the end of 2018."

"A further €55m of contracts have since been awarded to our UK subsidiary and €18m in Ireland since the start of 2019 further increasing the group order book," the directors said.

Underlining the group's growth, the report points out that "the Dublin and UK offices have taken on new leases for expanded premises and the group is constantly looking to expand and enhance its geographic presence with satellite offices".

Numbers directly employed by the group last year rose from 239 to 282 as staff costs increased to €16m from €11.22m.

Directors' remuneration last year also increased to €500,570 from €446,559.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €1.57m and a gain of €350,932 on the sale of tangible assets.

Shareholder funds at the end of December last year totalled €12.19m.

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