Oxford-based construction company Beard has published its half year results, revealing an exceptional performance for the family-run construction firm. This is all the more remarkable given the challenges that all companies have faced this year.
The accounts for the 128-year old company covering the first half of the year reveal £72 million in sales, holding a strong cash balance and zero debt on its books. Despite the hard lockdown from March until June, Beard completed a total of 31 projects, including the iconic Swindon Carriage Works and a new training facility for Premiership Rugby club Bristol Bears. This was delivered on time and on budget in spite of the restrictions placed on the project as a result of Covid-19.
The strong financial performance is due in part to Beard’s strategic approach to operations throughout the pandemic, as at the height of the lockdown it continued to work on more than 90 per cent of its sites.
It also fully implemented the Site Operating Procedures drawn up by the Construction Leadership Council, which ensured staff and subcontractors working on Beard sites were not exposed to unnecessary risk of infection. By doing this it could continue to provide work for its staff and sub-contractors and deliver for its clients.
Beard implemented additional safety measures including lengthening the working day and resequencing stages to allow different workers to be on site at different times, minimising the need for contact.
Beard has grown significantly over the past few years and today has a head of work in excess of £100 million going into 2021. It also benefits from a good relationship with its supply chain thanks to paying its sub-contractors in an average of just 26 days.
This year the company has taken a strategic approach to focus on its key sectors such as education, healthcare and heritage and has also moved into new sectors such as care homes. Despite the pandemic it has had a strong run on winning new work, most recently this has included: University of Oxford’s Rhodes House development worth £24 million and two developments for Signature Care Homes across the South East worth £25 million.
Sustainability has long been a focus for Beard and it recently took this a step further by investing in eco-building provider, Green Unit, which produces stand-alone modular units, built with modern methods of construction.
Chairman Mark Beard said: “In early July we asked our auditors to conduct an independent review of our financial accounts for the first six months of this year, which they duly did.
“This is the first time in the history of the business that we’ve carried out this exercise. Pleasingly our results show that our balance sheet remains very strong and we have a healthy cash position.
“The situation with Covid-19 is unprecedented and continually evolving. It has never been more difficult to predict the year ahead. However, we are confident that these results demonstrate our financial resilience and the long-term sustainability of the business.
“We’ve also been able to keep momentum by winning some significant contracts such as Rhodes House and the Signature Care Home developments, thanks to the reputation we’ve built up in those sectors.
“So, we can look ahead to 2021 with a good level of confidence as we expect to continue winning new work and making further in-roads into established sectors. But above all we’ll be maintaining our commitment to excellence and our ambition to make a positive impact on the communities in which we live and work.”