Northern Ireland

McLaughlin & Harvey reports pre-tax profit of £3.2m

One of Northern Ireland's largest construction firms, McLaughlin & Harvey, has given an upbeat outlook in its annual report as it announced pre-tax profits of £3.2m.

The firm said that at the end of 2013 it had a stronger order book than the year before.

It has recruited 28 people to take advantage of "growth opportunities".

Turnover was up 5% to £158m, though profits were down on the £4.2m achieved in 2012.

The dividend paid to the shareholders, the Cheevers family, more than doubled to just over £1.2m.

The directors said that although the market continued to be "highly competitive" their development of new markets should see "strong growth" in the medium term.

The company was recently awarded the £65m contract for the Omagh enhanced local hospital at the Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital site.

It is also working on a major project for the University of Ulster in Belfast city centre.

However, like all of Northern Ireland's largest building firms, it now does a substantial amount of its work elsewhere.

It recently won a £45m contract for the rebuilding of a quay at Teesport in the north east of England and is working on a similar job at Port of Cromarty Firth at Invergordon in Scotland.

Research published earlier this week by Ulster Bank suggested recovery in the Northern Ireland construction industry was beginning to pick up pace.

The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) said that in May, construction had its fastest rate of growth in more than 10 years.

However, that growth is coming off a low base, following a five-year slump.

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