Tough construction sector in the UK weighs on Speedy revenues

CONSTRUCTION tools provider Speedy Hire yesterday blamed a challenging housing market for falling revenues in the UK and Ireland, yet pointed to rising profits abroad.

Revenue dropped by 2.1 per cent in the firm’s first half in the UK and Ireland – 2.6 per cent in the first quarter and 1.6 per cent in the second. On the other hand, Speedy Hire’s sales at international ventures jumped 28.5 per cent.

However, profits overseas were not enough to push the firm’s overall first half into growth, with revenue largely flat, down just 0.1 per cent.

The domestic construction market has faced a tough few years of late, yet surveys suggest it could be picking up. Markit’s widely-regarded purchasing managers’ index for the sector hit 58.9 in September, above the no-change value of 50 for the fifth month running – suggesting a rebound for constructors.

“The group continues to trade in line with the board’s expectations and remains well positioned to benefit from the future UK recovery supported by a conservative balance sheet,” chief executive Steve Corcoran said in a statement.

The firm has been pursuing new oil and gas related activities in the Middle East and north Africa, it said.