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Business & Economy

Esh Group reports record order book of £300m following Scotland and North West withdrawal

North of England-based Esh Group has announced a 14% increase in turnover and record forward order book in excess of £300m.

The strengthened position follows the conclusion of a three-year comprehensive reorganisation programme within the group which involved the withdrawal from markets in Scotland and the North West and the disposal and closure of a number of non-core subsidiaries. While the reorganisation resulted in 2019’s pre-tax loss of £2.9m, turnover increased to £212m.

Esh Group’s chief executive, Andy Radcliffe, said: “Following the reorganisation our business is in a position of considerable financial strength, our liquidity remains very strong with a 2019 balance sheet standing at £33m, of which £15m is cash. We now have a business that is leaner, more customer and market focussed, and which is aligned to resilient and robust sectors of the market.”

“We start 2021 in our strongest position in years, with a healthy pipeline of work made up of high-quality contracts for private and public sector clients, and importantly, the financial fire power to deliver our new growth strategy. Our £300m order book comprises sectors that appear to be resilient, and in some cases, stimulated, by the impact of the pandemic – as a result we expect to deliver healthy level of profitability throughout 2021.”

The firm, which operates across the North of England and Yorkshire, is contracted to build over 1,700 homes for affordable and private housing providers, including extra care. With two private residential schemes totalling £21m in Newcastle City Centre and Leeds South Bank, Esh is due to commence work on £14m retail and hotel developments in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

Its civil engineering division recently secured a £75m utilities framework, has plotworks, roads and sewers orders for major housebuilders in excess of £50m and continues to deliver major infrastructure schemes including M181 Northern Roundabout in Scunthorpe and the £40m Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor.

Radcliffe concluded: “Whilst undoubtedly the pandemic has had some impact on our operations during 2020, our strategy has served us well and enabled us to very successfully navigate the impact of COVID-19 on our business. We are well placed to support our clients as they recover, and as always we are committed to delivering contracts with a local workforce, a local supply chain and an industry leading social and economic value programme. We are extremely grateful to our clients, supply chain, employees, and shareholders who have underpinned our organisation with unwavering support, and look forward to the future with confidence and excitement.”