Arena builder doubles profit to €4.6m

The builder of the O2 Arena in Dublin last year bucked the trend in the construction industry by increasing revenues and more than doubling profits to €4.6m.

Accounts filed by Dublin-based Walls Construction Ltd show that pre-tax profits increased by 122%, from €2m to €4.6m, after revenues rose 4% to €111.7m in the 12 months to the end of December last.

Head of marketing and business development John Nolan said yesterday: “We are very happy with last year given the very tough trading conditions that continue to be difficult.”

The firm is currently fitting out Google’s 15-storey Montevetro building in Dublin and Mr Nolan said that fit-out now accounted for one third of Walls Construction’s revenues.

Mr Nolan said: “We are quite positive about the future and see an improvement right across the construction sector — in industrial, commercial, and public work.

“We are under no illusions about the conditions in the industry but there are grounds for optimism — prices are more solid and there is less below-cost tendering.”

He said the company was very active in the third-level and healthcare sectors, and was working on a €12m contract at the Blackrock Clinic that involves the construction of an intensive care unit.

A note attached to the accounts states that the firm “has agreed in principle to a three-year facility with [Nama] and a number of other banks which will enable the group to continue its trading operations and allow for the successful growth of the group’s construction division”.

The filings confirm that Walls Construction has completed an extensive five-year future review of budgets and projections, with the directors determining that the company “will be in a position to grow its construction activities and maintain sustainability into the future”.

The figures show that at the end of last year, the firm had €18.8m in shareholder funds that includes €17.5m in accumulated profits. Cash increased from €3.1m to €3.6m.

Group loans of €92.1m outstanding at the end of Dec 2010 for the Walls Group do not feature in the Walls Construction Ltd accounts as they are not consolidated.

The firm’s only bank borrowing was an overdraft of €7.4m at the end of Dec 2011.

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