Northern Ireland

Property business May Estates back in profit

Antrim-based property business May Estates has returned to profit, according to its 2011 accounts.

The firm had turnover of £11.7m which returned a pre-tax profit of £231,000. That compares to a loss of £280,000 in 2010.

The company, which employs 50 people, is the parent of the building contractor Russell Simpson Construction.

It also develops property, owning business parks and office blocks.

The company has net assets of more than £2m, including £1m in cash.

The current tight margins for contractors in Northern Ireland are evident in the Russell Simpson accounts which show a £21,000 profit on £8m turnover in 2011.

The building and development sector in Northern Ireland has been stuck in a depression although some of the major contractors, who were not focused on house-building, have remained profitable.

There was some hope for the industry last month when official figures showed the first sign of growth for almost four years.

The total volume of construction output in the third quarter of 2011 increased by 0.8% compared to the second quarter of 2011.

This was the first quarterly increase in the total volume of construction output since the middle of 2008.