East Anglia: May Gurney takeover helps drive a 51% revenue growth for Kier

New signs for Kier and the familiar May Gurney signs removed on the company's headquarters near Trow

New signs for Kier and the familiar May Gurney signs removed on the company's headquarters near Trowse. Photo: Steve Adams

The boss of Kier Group said the organisation had mounted a “robust operational performance” and scooped larger contracts thanks to the integration of Norwich-based May Gurney, one of the EADT/EDP’s Top 100 firms.

The construction and services company notched a 51% increase in revenues to £3billion for the year ending June 30 2014, as underlying operating profits also grew 59% to £88million.

Overall operating margins held their own at 2.1% for the construction division and 4.8% in the services division, with the group recommending a 6% increase in the proposed full year dividend to 72.0p.

Underlying pre-tax profits also saw 54% growth to 73.1m, compared to 47.6m in June last year, while Kier Construction and Kier Services have an order book totalling £6.2bn.

Haydn Mursell, chief executive, has moved to refresh the company’s strategy in a bid to become a “top three player” in its chosen markets and maintain sustainable profit growth to 2020.

He said: “I am pleased to report a good set of results showing significant progress on last year and demonstrating the robust operational performance of the business and the benefits of the May Gurney acquisition. Despite inflationary price and labour challenges in the market, our margins remained robust.

“Following the integration of May Gurney, which transformed the scale and diversity of the group, the breadth of our capabilities has resulted in new, as well as larger, contract awards.

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“Our capabilities extend from negotiating finance and planning permissions, constructing major buildings and infrastructure as well as providing facilities management and environmental services. This spread of capabilities puts us in a unique position to pursue future growth.

“Since taking up the CEO role on 1 July 2014, the group’s strategy has been refreshed.

“Vision 2020, a strategy for sustainable profitable growth, will see the group aim to deliver double-digit compound annual profit growth for the period to 2020 and aim to be a top three player in our chosen markets.”

The Bedfordshire-based company, which employs 810 people across the eastern region, has been awarded the £37m contract to remodel the Arup Building for the University of Cambridge. It has just finished topping out new offices for Suffolk County Council in Lowestoft.

May Gurney shareholders overwhelmingly backed a £221m takeover of the firm by Kier last year, marking the end of the road for the Trowse-based firm as a separate entity.