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Walls estimates €11m jump in turnover


Construction company PJ Walls increased its turnover in the past two years and is estimating its 2011 turnover at about €180m -- up from €169m in 2010 and €146m in 2009.

The company achieved operational profits of €3.77m in 2010, according to the latest accounts filed with the companies office -- reversing a loss of €943,337 in 2009. However, it suffered a pre-tax loss of €37.8m in 2010 following a €44.48m writedown on its property portfolio.

A major part of the portfolio is its one million square foot Northern Cross development on the Malahide Road in Dublin, where it owns a number of commercial units as well as 128 apartments.

It also developed the Hilton Hotel at Northern Cross, and it will buy back the hotel when the deal with the hotel's investors matures.

Group finance director Shaun Greene also pointed out that while the 2011 accounts were not yet finalised, these were expected to record an operating profit. He said that a review of property values was under way and the bottom line would not be known until this was completed.

He was also optimistic about the 2012 performance as construction contracts remain busy both in Ireland and Britain. In 2010, this side of the business generated €162m in turnover, of which €41m was in the UK.

Last year, this UK market continued to grow to about €60m, while the Irish side was practically unchanged.

Walls has transferred €61m in loans to NAMA, which has issued it with a letter of support. "The Walls Group is working on a new facilities agreement with NAMA. It is anticipated that this will be completed by the end of the first quarter of this year," Mr Greene said.

Irish Independent