NORTH Wales-based construction firm Read Construction Holdings says a clutch of new contracts it is bidding for will help pull the business through the tail end of the recession.
The company, whose headquarters are in Brymbo, near Wrexham, says it is enjoying its busiest period for tenders in its history.
It is in with a shout for 19 project tenders worth in total £18m, all of which close by the end of December.
Managing director Richard Heaton said two of the bids had already been successful and there were strong indications that at least another four would be accepted by clients.
If that turns out to be the case then it will secure for the company an important portfolio of work worth around £7m going into 2010.
Mr Heaton said the company had entered the recession with a strong forward order book and enough work to carry it through to the beginning of the school summer holidays this year
It had then been able to procure a “substantial amount of work” on school building projects to tide it over the summer but then found itself in a quieter period and applied for ProAct funding from the Welsh Assembly Government to help train workers and protect jobs.
“We have just gone through a very challenging five months, but the outlook now is significantly better than it was just two or three months ago,” said Mr Heaton.
“Of the 19 projects that we have gone after it has been confirmed that we have been awarded two and it appears probable that we will secure another four. The value of all six, if they move forward, is around £7m.
“There is no question that the construction sector is still struggling but to have this number of tenders across a variety of public and private sector projects demonstrates that clients are committing to new projects and that money is flowing through the economy.
“It’s very competitive out there and margins are being squeezed. I think 2010 is going to be even more difficult than 2008 and 2009 have been.
“I think we will come out of the recession at the back end of 2010 but companies will emerge from the downturn very lean.”
As a regional player Read Construction has also had to contend in recent times with the fact that more local bodies now use framework procedures to tender for projects such as new schools and hospitals. So far, the company’s client base has been sufficiently robust to withstand the loss of some projects to national companies.
The company believes that its focus on continuous improvement, training and strong client relationships has been key to ensuring a place on the tender lists. Working as a regional contractor and understanding its supply chain and its clients’ needs have been added strengths.
Read Construction Holdings Ltd was set up 21 years ago by Mr Heaton and fellow director Graham Read, now retired. It grew from a start-up with just three employees into a major force in the construction industry in North Wales, Cheshire, Liverpool and Shropshire.
It employs more than 80 people and has a turnover in excess of £20m. The company has a wide range of clients both public sector and private and has been involved in numerous flagship projects including more than 130 schools, hospitals, leisure and tourism projects.
Last year it relocated from Trevor, near Llangollen, to the Enterprise Centre, Blast Road, on part of the former Brymbo Steelworks site. The company is now the biggest private employer in the former steelmaking village, said Mr Heaton.
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