electrical contractors 2012 olympics
T Clarke counts on Olympics boost The electrical contractor's margins are under pressure amid tough market conditions but the longer-term outlook remains good as it eyes work that will emerge in the build-up to the London Olympics. Print ArticlePermissions/ReprintsCommentHemscott Editor | 18-08-06 | E-mail Article Interim pretax rose 10% to £4m on sales up 9% to £100m. Earnings per share increased 10% to 6.76p and the interim dividend has been hiked 5% to 3.675p from 3.5p. Pat Stanborough, chief executive of T Clarke, says that despite tough market conditions and margins remaining under pressure, the group remains positive about the future. The group is especially upbeat about prospects for its core business in London, which should benefit from the build up to the Olympics in 2012, with many new major infrastructure projects planned to start in 2008. Stanborough says that this, combined with a number of large commercial office schemes in central London that are on the starting blocks, bodes well for the group's longer term future. The group is working hard to ensure it is in the 'right shape' to take advantage of 2012 opportunities as they emerge. On a further disappointing note, the group notes that its regional businesses have found it particularly tough going as they experienced 'mixed fortunes' over the half-year. In the provinces the group suffered unexpected bad debts and unforeseeable increases in material costs - copper prices for instance increased by over 100% between October 2005 and April 2006. In the South East, meanwhile, there has been some recent slippage in the timing of two major projects. Overall however, the group says prospects for the group are improving, with its £175m order book, and likely upswing in construction industry activity in the latter part of this year and beyond, giving it confidence for the future. However, with an eye on the timing of major contract completions, the group cautioned that its current year results will be broadly similar to those achieved in 2005. A decidedly mixed statement from T Clarke, with pressure on margins and the problems in the regions making for disappointing reading and taking the shine off the undoubtedly very good longer term prospects for the group, especially its core London businesses. In early trade, T Clarke plc shares were down 16p or 6.3% to 238.5p.