Directors at Dawn Group, one of Scotland's largest privately-owned construction and property companies, gave themselves a 65% pay hike in a year in which profits fell.

The group's latest set of financial accounts, obtained by The Herald from Companies House, also reveal that a dividend of £1.5m was paid to the company's "ultimate parent".

The Prestwick-based group unveiled pre-tax profits of £11.4m for the year to the end of January, down from £13m.

Nonetheless, the results mark the group's third year of profit following a reorganisation in 2004. The overhaul was aimed at transforming Dawn into a company capable of taking on larger jobs and turning itself into a "one-stop shop - from land acquisition to construction to development and then selling to the customer", Alan Macdonald, Dawn's chief executive, told The Herald in an earlier interview.

In spite of the latest decrease, the company said it had "another excellent year" and total executive pay climbed to £781,523, compared with £472,636 last time.

The remuneration of its highest-paid director, assumed to be Macdonald, climbed to £228,830, from £219,341.

Group turnover, including its joint ventures, came in £122.8m, compared with £120.6 last time.

Dawn did not return calls for comment yesterday. However, it was the company's share of operating profits from the joint ventures, which jumping to £2.7m from a loss of £345,883 the previous year, that bolstered the bottom line.

The main drag, according to the accounts, was Dawn's homes division. The accounts noted: "The housing business saw a reduction in sales and profits from the prior year as a number of planned site commencements were postponed due to ongoing delays with local authority planning and roads departments."

However, Dawn's construction division, where it "continued to build on strong foundations put in place over the past few years", saw its pre-tax profit surge to £7.5m, compared with £4.6m last time.

Dawn was last year given the all-clear by the Scottish Executive for a £35m plan to upgrade Ayr Racecourse - in which the group has a 50% joint venture interest - and construction work on the "commercial and leisure phases" are expected to begin later this year.

The plans for the home of the Scottish Grand National include a rock concert venue, a nine-screen multiplex, a casino, a hotel with a 500-seat conference hall and sports bars. The new housing phase of the plan is scheduled to begin next year.