British construction materials group Breedon is actively looking at further acquisitions in Ireland and is in discussions with a number of potential takeover targets.
The group already has significant operations in Ireland through its ownership of materials, surfacing, and civil engineering company Lagan and Whitemountain, its paving and street lighting business in the North.
Last year Lagan completed the upgrade of the runway at Shannon Airport and it has the contract for runway surfacing work at Dublin Airport.
Breedon entered the Irish market in 2018 through the €500m takeover of Lagan.
Speaking on the back of a strong set of annual results, a spokesperson for Breedon said the group is still “actively” looking at making acquisitions in Ireland and has a pipeline of opportunities both here and in the UK.
“We see Ireland as being a good growth opportunity for us and that continues to be the case,” he said.
The prospect of Breedon looking to spread its presence to other countries will not hinder its investment plans for the Irish market, the company said. Breedon reported an 8% jump in group revenues for 2019 to £929.6m (€1.1bn); with pre-tax profit up 18% to £94.6m.
Its operations in Ireland - Lagan and Whitemountain combined - increased revenues by 29% to £202m. Underlying earnings, in Ireland, grew by 28% to just under £27m.
Breedon said both of its Irish subsidiaries performed well last year, with Lagan delivering “an especially strong result”. It said market conditions in the North were “challenging” due to Brexit uncertainty and the absence of the Northern Ireland Executive.
The group said market conditions in the Republic were “positive”.
However, Breedon noted a modest reduction in tenders on the back of the National Children’s Hospital overspend.
“Nonetheless, we delivered a strong performance over the year,” it said.
With regard to this year, Breedon said the prospects for construction, in the Republic, remain “very encouraging”, “with all forecasters predicting a healthy growth in output on the back of a continuing strong economy”.