By Scott Wright

A NOTHERN Irish construction group that employs 300 people in Scotland has hailed its performance over a year that saw activity curtailed by measures to combat coronavirus.

Graham, which works across building, civil engineering, interior fit-out, facilities management and investment projects, has reported a 7.4 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £12.3 million.

The accounting period covered the initial response to the pandemic, which saw construction activity shut down for three months after the first UK-wide lockdown was announced in March 2020.

Revenue plunged by around £100m or 42% against pre-Covid forecasts in that spell.

Full-year turnover at the group dipped by 5.3% to £808.1m, though the company notes in the accounts that all of its divisions remained profitable in the year ended March 31, 2021. And while Graham states that “conditions remain competitive across all divisions”, it adds in the accounts that the group is in a “strong position with record order books and a pipeline of opportunity that is strong in both volume and quality”.

The order pipeline is valued at £1.7 billion.

Projects the company worked on during the period include a combined build-to-rent and office development for Drum Properties at the new Barclays campus in Glasgow, and the Baird Family Hospital and ANCHOR Centre in Aberdeen for NHS Grampian.

Michael Graham, group executive chairman said: “The published accounts are very positive.

“Without question, this has been a particularly challenging period for every contractor in the construction industry. This makes our latest financial figures even more impressive.”

Graham, which employs around 2,300 people, said it used the furlough scheme to project jobs as the pandemic took hold, but began to repay the funds it received from July 1 as the market stabilised.

The company states that it stopped using the furlough scheme in December 2020, “and due to the improvement in operations from 1 July 2020 all grants from this date under the CJRS (coronavirus job retention scheme) were repaid.”