‘Exceptional’ material and wage inflation sees Lee Marley sink into red

Lee Marley has reported a pre-tax loss of £2.1m despite a record turnover.

The brickwork and scaffolding specialist – one of the UK’s top 10 envelope contractors in the CN Specialists Index 2022 – blamed exceptional material and wage inflation. It also underperformed on a handful of contracts in its Scottish and Midlands businesses.

The loss, revealed in the company’s financial statements for the year to 31 December 2022, followed a pre-tax profit of just over £1m the year before.

However, the group recorded its highest-ever turnover of £65.6m, up from £56.9m in 2021, and described a “robust” forward order book of £81m.

Lee Marley saw an improved performance from its Scottish division but was forced to close its Leeds office last year.

“Trading into 2023 has been strong as we continue to grow our revenues while we manage out our positions on fixed-price legacy projects and realign pricing on new projects to reflect the impacts of inflation,” it said.

“We continue to invest in our ability to tender for, to win and to deliver new work.”

It said the impact of price-renegotiation and mitigation would be reflected in margins delivered this year.

Net debt increased as a result of the operating loss for the year.

“However, we continue to operate within our available facilities and we have a resilient balance sheet, underpinned by continued investment in scaffolding equipment and fleet, and healthy working capital, which will support our ability to deliver further growth in 2023 and beyond,” the firm said.

With offices in London, Reading and East Kilbride, Lee Marley’s brickwork projects include Eton College, the Defence National Rehabilitation Centre in Nottinghamshire and the Colville Estate in Hackney.

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