GF Tomlinson inches back into the black

GF Tomlinson Group returned to profit in its 2022/23 financial year despite a third consecutive annual fall in revenue, according to its latest accounts.

Turnover of £66.2m for the 12 months ending 30 June 2023 marked an 18 per cent year-on-year decrease on the previous year’s £81m, which itself decreased from £87.3m in 2020/21.

The latest figures mean that the firm’s revenue has more than halved from its 2018/19 figure of £142.4m, when GF Tomlinson entered the CN100 list of top UK contractors in 98th place.

Main contracting subsidiary GF Tomlinson Building Ltd accounted for £51.1m, or 77 per cent, of total group turnover in the latest accounts filed with Companies House.

Despite the fall in turnover, the group was able to turn a pre-tax loss of £2.3m into a small profit of £238,000. This mainly came from its tool hire and sales subsidiary posting a pre-tax profit of £304,000.

In the strategic summary accompanying the accounts, group chairman and managing director Andy Sewards noted that high material prices as a result of the Ukraine war “had a large impact on our tender prices which then led to projects being overbudget”.

He added: “This resulted in clients either having to ask for value engineering to reduce the tender sum or having to seek further funding. These led to contract awards and contract start dates being delayed.”

Delays in tender decisions also led to contract start dates being pushed back, which “resulted in the company’s turnover being less than 50 per cent of what we would normally expect”, he said.

“As the business focuses on works for the public sector, we were affected by the delays in the clients awaiting additional funding for projects,” Sewards added. Even so, GF Tomlinson Building was reappointed for four more years on the Pagabo national framework, with work commencing in January 2023.

This reflected the importance of frameworks to the group “at the heart of our business”, said Sewards, as they provide “certainty of work over several years along with certainty of payment”.

Other framework partners include the East Midlands Property Alliance, Education Funding Agency, Procure Partnerships Framework, the University of Birmingham, Construction West Midlands and the Crown Commercial Service.

GF Tomlinson’s average monthly headcount fell from 226 in 2022 to 202 in 2023, cutting the group’s wage bill by almost £1.8m. However, the firm stressed its commitment to retaining key staff rather than laying off workers until contracts are awarded.

In 2022/23 the firm completed three care homes for Derbyshire Council Council and Barr’s Hill School for Coventry City Council.

Ongoing jobs for GF Tomlinson include the £15m Stephenson Memorial Hall (pictured) for Chesterfield Council, and three schools with a combined construction value of £18.2m for Staffordshire County Council. The firm is also building a new £10m warehouse for longstanding client Ascott Transport Ltd.

Looking ahead, Sewards said the arrival of several new contracts should result in a turnover of more than £110m for GF Tomlinson Building alone in 2023/24.

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