Demand sees steel company working close to capacity

Mark Smith CEO of Billington Holdings. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1007/20c
Mark Smith CEO of Billington Holdings. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1007/20c
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S​tructural steel ​firm ​​Billington Holding​s ​has reported its ​strongest annual results in five years​ and will reward shareholders​ with a 100 per cent increase in its dividend.

The Barnsley-based firm, which supplied the steel for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s award-winning Stratford-upon-Avon theatre,​​ has been busy working on a number of major projects such as a new distribution centre for Next in Doncaster and a number of high rise commercial properties at Wellington Place in Leeds.

The group said revenue rose 26 per cent to £57m in the year to December 31 while pre-tax profits jumped 63 per cent to £3.1m,

Finance director Trevor Taylor said: “We’re just coming out of the recession. A lot of hard work has gone in to restoring the business and that’s coming to fruition now.

“We are a lot more nimble and leaner. The economy has improved over the past two years and we’ve won some big contracts.”

Chief executive Mark Smith said the group has been able to sell other services alongside its big steel contracts.

“We are cross-selling across the group so we are offering easi-edge and stair solutions when we are selling the steel work,” he said.

He said the firm’s expansion plans have progressed significantly following last year’s £5m purchase of a new factory in Shafton, south Yorkshire

Billington said the acquisition has significantly increased the output of its structural steelwork divisions and it is recruiting a skilled workforce.

“Although the industry continues to recover, the market remains competitive,” said Mr Smith.

“The dividend of 6p is a result of Billington’s ability to deliver quality results to both clients and shareholders.”

The dividend was double 2014’s 3p share-out.

“We have always wanted to reward shareholders who stayed loyal in the years when there wasn’t a dividend,” said Mr Taylor.

Mr Smith said the group has seen a slow start to 2016 as a result of a number of significant contracts being delayed, but said the group is on track to deliver a good results in 2016.

“We are confident we’ll get over the slow start. The weather has led to delays to steelwork on site and also a couple of contracts were delayed,” he said.

“The middle of the year is looking very strong.”

The group said the rest of the year looks set to be busy for all divisions, providing management confidence for the full year.

​“It has been a good year. We had a slow start​, but we are confident 2016 will mature into a good performance, equalling that of 2015.

“We are very close to our clients. We talk to them and we get repeat business,” said Mr Smith.

The group said that its structural steel business was very busy throughout the year and carried out a number of projects such as Brize Norton Aircraft Hangar and an Aldi distribution centre in Cardiff.

Billington’s structural steel business produced 25,000 tonnes of fabricated material, which is close to the capacity of the group’s existing facilities.

The group said its easi-edge safety barrier division, which provides orange barriers at the edge of steel structures, reported a steady level of demand throughout the year.

Major projects included Sovereign Square​ in​ Leeds, ​Central Square in Leeds, Beaumont Academy in Warrington and St. James Road ​and City Campus in Glasgow.

The hoard-it division, which produces a range of sustainable hoardings, ​reported a good level of enquiries ​that were converted.