THE company behind the Newcastle Falcons stadium has fought through difficult trading conditions to win back lost trade.

The Metnor Group, based in Newcastle, suffered during the downturn in the telecoms sector but rallied in the past year and is now in a position to grow again.

The group, which operates in the fields of project management, mechanical and electrical contracting, hot-dip galvanizing and the supply of equipment to the offshore industry, saw profits before tax dip from £5.8m in 2001 to £4.6m last year.

The company achieved record turnover, up £9.5m to £57.4m, in the same period.

Stephen Rankin, chief executive, said: "I am delighted with the outcome for what could have been a very difficult year. With the phenomenon of telecom work now behind us, margins are of course more realistic, however, they are also far more sustainable.

"The record turnover provides evidence that our decision to offer clients a complete project management and construction package has been well received in the market. We are continuing to win much larger projects through our growing reputation for quality and performance.

"Whilst the construction market in the South-East remains uncertain, the market across the rest of the UK, and particularly in the North, remains buoyant.

"We are significantly stronger in the North-East than we were a year ago and contracts won to date allow us to be confident for the forthcoming year."