Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building


McAlpine ‘cautiously optimistic’ despite pandemic

21 October 2020
Paul Hamer

Sir Robert McAlpine remains “cautiously optimistic” despite the effects on its performance brought about by the covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, as it presented its financial results for 2018/19.

The contractor made a pre-tax profit of £14.5m in 2019, compared to £7.4m in 2018. Annual turnover increased to just over £1bn, up from £788m in 2018.

The company had cash balances of £94m at year end, with no debt.

In a statement, the company said: “Having navigated the initial challenges of the crisis and taken strategic action to manage cost, the company retains a cautiously optimistic outlook, thanks to a resilient cash balance and a strong secured pipeline of work.”

McAlpine, which last year celebrated its 150th anniversary, furloughed around half of its employees during the onset of the pandemic, as well as working to develop site operating procedures that met government safety guidelines, and building temporary Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Preston, Bangor and Jersey.

In July, it announced that, as a result of a recent strategic review and the ongoing challenges of covid-19, it was reshaping the business, reducing the size of its workforce by 6%. The firm has created expanded operating regions in the North and the South, which complement its existing London region and civil engineering and Infrastructure business.

It said it would “deepen” its focus on major projects in key sectors including infrastructure, healthcare, commercial offices, residential, leisure and heritage.

Paul Hamer, chief executive, said: “I would like to pay homage to our people who have met the challenges of these unprecedented times with their usual problem-solving skills and can-do attitude. This has meant that, within a few weeks, we were able to reopen some sites and begin the journey back to full productivity.”

“There is still a great deal of geo-political uncertainty and unpredictability with respect to Brexit and a trade deal, covid-19 and the wider economy, but we are grateful to have a healthy pipeline of work and strong and enduring client relationships.”