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John Paul Construction boss is 'optimistic' on business outlook

Liam Kenny confident of firm's jobs pipeline despite Covid interruptions

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Project: Phase 3 of the Clancy Quay development in Dublin was completed over the summer

Project: Phase 3 of the Clancy Quay development in Dublin was completed over the summer

Project: Phase 3 of the Clancy Quay development in Dublin was completed over the summer

The managing director of John Paul Construction, Liam Kenny, says he’s “cautiously optimistic” for the company’s outlook in the short to medium term despite the Covid pandemic.

The group saw its turnover jump 20pc to €369m last year, while operating profit was flat at €8.9m.

The company has been involved in a number of large projects. During the summer, it completed construction of the third phase of the Clancy Quay residential and retail development in Dublin. The scheme is owned by US property investment firm Kennedy Wilson.

During the summer, the company also started construction of the new Garda Security and Crime Operations Centre.

The construction group recently secured a contract from the HSE to build a state-of-the-art oncology centre on the grounds of University Hospital Galway.

Last year, the company worked on projects for drug giant Abbot in Co Longford and Co Donegal, and on a number of data centre projects. It also recently worked on the new Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin city.

“We continue to maintain a prudent approach to our financial stability and began 2020 with a strong cash position and without bank debt obligations,” said Mr Kenny.

The company had net assets of €23.7m at the end of 2019 and shareholder funds of €23.7m.

Mr Kenny added that the underlying fundamentals of the business “remain strong”.

“Despite Covid-19-related interruptions, we remain cautiously optimistic in the short to medium term on foot of our secured workload and opportunities pipeline,” said Mr Kenny.

During the summer, John Paul Construction was forced to temporarily close a site it was operating on Dublin’s Townsend Street after more than 20 workers there tested positive for Covid. It’s building a 393-bedroom hotel and a 202-unit aparthotel there for Tetrarch Capital.

“Although Covid-19 continues to pose significant challenges operationally, we are confident that by following the best practice protocols developed within the industry and the advice of the HSE, we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our people and the communities in which we work,” insisted Mr Kenny.

John Paul Construction recently made a number of senior appointments, including a new regional director for the south of Ireland and Europe. That role was taken up by Colin Crowley, who joined the firm from 3T Energy Group. He had also previously worked for industrial engineering group Kentz.

Meanwhile, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said yesterday that the top 50 contractors in Ireland had a combined turnover of more than €10bn last year.

That was €1.7bn higher than in 2018. Of the 2019 figure, €6.7bn was generated in Ireland.

It added that mechanical and electrical contractors in particular have continued to grow rapidly, and have expanded their operations overseas.

“Enterprise Ireland has reported a 19pc increase in construction exports to €2.24bn and a 9pc increase in engineering,” noted the federation of activity in 2019.

“This makes construction the second-largest export category for Enterprise Ireland clients behind Ireland’s food industry,” it added.

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