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Record turnover for Robertson Group

Bill RobertsonOne of Britain’s largest privately owned infrastructure firms, Robertson Group, has reported  turnover up 14% to a record £298 million as it continues to invest in young talent. Figures for the year ending 31 March show a profit before tax of £11.77 million.

The group, which employs more than 1,700 people in 18 businesses throughout the UK, is nearing the end of a five-year plan focused on growing sustainable, long term value and profits.

Executive chairman Bill Robertson, who founded the business in 1966 said: “These results are testament to the work the group has undertaken in the last five years.

“I believe our regional business model has been our strength in recent times, where each autonomous business can react to their own local markets in good times or bad and is under no pressure to grow unless good value can be gained from their workload.

“Following the end of PFI procurement our business has spent the last five years growing, developing and managing its way through a changing marketplace by using those skills learned in the previous 15 years of PFI work.”

Mr Robertson believes companies like his have suffered in recent years in a number of ways, not least from the demands of banks who provided loans to property companies.

He explained: “Many good companies were forced out of business as a result of the upheaval in the banking sector and some of those who survived either lost control or equity in their businesses.

“The recession which followed the banking crisis also impacted on the sector where companies were encouraged to trade at unsustainable margins hoping the recession would be short lived. And the recent spate of poor results from major UK construction companies hasn’t helped the perception of our industry.

“Over 60% of Robertson Group revenue is generated from construction operations where margins, historically, have been low. There are fewer players in the market and more frameworks and opportunities to work on with clients and their advisers up front. There is a real opportunity to raise margin levels to more sustainable levels.”

He is also adamant that the sector needs to re-engage with direct employment and training at all levels to improve security of supply, underlining the crucial part that construction plays in the country’s economy.

“Training and development of management and trade operatives hasn’t kept pace with the market demands. We have taken proactive approach in investing in youth training and development, as we look to grow a talent pool for the future. Most companies now recognise this and many see a recovering economy as real opportunity to rebuild value and a creditable position in today’s market.

“On the eve of our 50th anniversary and as we prepare for our next five year plan we are looking forward to a period of opportunity and sustainability across the sectors where we operate. This is an exciting new phase for Robertson and our sector.”

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