McLaughlin & Harvey suffers £8.6m loss

Privately-owned contractor McLaughlin & Harvey fell £8.5m into the red last year after suffering losses principally at its Northern Ireland construction business and Scottish environmental arm.

Group revenue rose in the year to June 2023 reaching £736m, compared to a pro- rata 12-month figure of £533m in the previous year, which was reported over 18 months at £800m.

This saw the average number of employees rise to 816 from 791 in 2022.

In a statement with the results, finance director David O’Neill, said: “The directors are disappointed with the performance of the group throughout the financial year but accept that the industry as a whole continues to face volatile trading conditions impacted by the lingering impact of Covid delays, geopolitical turbulence on prices and availability within the supply chain and labour shortages witnessed in the UK.”

He said that while the construction business saw record annual turnover levels as it serviced a pipeline of profitable work, the Northern Ireland construction business had provided for potential losses on a small number of jobs.

These jobs were significantly affected by the severe inflation encountered after the group had entered into contract.

Despite these problems, the Scottish construction business performed well last year as did the the civil engineering operations.

The group’s Scottish environmental business BEL reported a loss of £2.2m, having been impacted by a change in Scottish landfil tax legislation on the first day of the financial year.

Due to the resulting loss of trade, McLaughlin and Harvey rationalised its asset base and closed all but one site.

The group loss includes the impact of a £1.9m impairment arising on the closure of one of the sites at Garlaff.

McLaughlin & Harvey said the decision managed to preserve most staff positions with the environmental business returning to a break-even position in the last quarter of the 2022-2023 year.

Looking ahead the firm said that a strategy of securing places on a wide number of government frameworks had facilitated a strong order book for both construction and civil engineering.

The directors anticipated this would deliver a much more positive financial performance in the coming year.

The family-owned group is chaired by Ken Cheevers with his son Philip in the role of group chief executive.


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