Severfield well-placed to benefit from a recovery in construction

Severfield has helped build UK landmarks including The Shard skyscraper in London.

Severfield has helped build UK landmarks including The Shard skyscraper in London.

First published in Business News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

STEEL firm Severfield said its performance and underlying financial position was satisfactory and that it is well-placed to benefit from a recovery in the construction industry.

The structural steel specialist, which has its headquarters on the former RAF Dalton site, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire had a turbulent 2013 when it announced an underlying loss before tax of £21.5m in the 15 months to 31 March, down from a £10.1m profit in 2011, and said it would reduce factory capacity by 10 per cent after its management review.

Severfield-Rowen chief executive Tom Haughey departed in January 2013 as the firm reported cost overruns on the Cheesegrater skyscraper and entered talks with banks.

It appointed former Kier Group board director Ian Lawson as its new chief executive last September and completed a rebrand in June and reshuffled its management team.

Bosses pointed to continuing signs of improvement in today’s update but said it would be later in the year before there was any notable impact on the size or mix of the order book.

Its JSW Severfield Structures division in India was showing improvement and had an order book of £34m.

The group has also benefited from the sale of its investment property in June for £3.9m, which the company said was in line with book value.

The UK order book of £171m remains solid and the business continues to show improved stability following the reorganisation in the last financial year.

The company said: "Overall, the group continues to be ideally positioned for recovery in the UK construction market with its good market position and strong balance sheet."

Before its financial woes, Severfield, which employs about 600 workers in the North, worked on a series of landmark building, including The Shard, London 2012 Olympic venues, the Emirates Stadium for Arsenal Football Club, Wimbledon's Centre Court roof as well as Heathrow's Terminal Five and Terminal Two developments.

Last year, Severfield-Rowen Structures merged with Watson Steel Structures to become Severfield-Watson Structures, before the individual company names were dropped and it rebranded itself as Severfield plc.

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