Sisk’s €90m dividend as profits fall

CONSTRUCTION giant John Sisk & Son paid out a dividend of more than €90 million last year as pre-tax profits fell by €2.5m.

Accounts just filed by the construction division of the Sisk Group show the substantial dividend was paid in a year when turnover (including share of joint ventures) dropped by 7.2% to almost €1.14bn from €1.22bn in 2007. The 150-year-old company paid an interim dividend of €226.77 per €1.25 ordinary share amounting to €90,709,000.

The directors have not proposed a final dividend for the year-ended December 31. It is understood that the dividend was paid to the holding company of the Sisk Group, which is listed in the annual return as the main shareholder. A company spokesman said he could not clarify where the dividend was paid.

There are nine people listed on the board of directors of John Sisk and Son, including managing director Tom Costello and chairman Liam Nagle.

The company reported a pre-tax profit of €26.4m last year from €28.9m in 2007.

The directors said 2008 was a “satisfactory year” for the group given the “very difficult conditions which the Irish construction industry faced during 2008 and will continue to face in 2009”.

Gross profit was down from €57.4m to €46m. The results for the year include a number of exceptional charges including the writedown against the carrying value of a joint venture company, an increase in the provision for bad debts and some restructuring costs incurred during the year.

“The group has relatively low levels of borrowings and routinely monitors the levels of debt finance in place and the related finance costs,” the company said.

The holding company of John Sisk and Son, the Sisk Group, has operations in Ireland, Britain and Belgium. It is controlled by members of the Sisk business family.

In addition to construction, the group owns distribution company Origo and a number of healthcare businesses. Origo distributes Bosche and Toshiba products.

Recent contracts signed by Sisk included deals to build extensions to the Mater Hospital and the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin and the Galway Clinic. It will also build the T5 Hilton hotel at Heathrow airport, London.

The company is understood to be near the final stages of a redundancy programme in which it is cutting more than a third of its workforce over two years. It has laid off 750 staff since the start of last year, when it had 2,800 staff, and it plans to cut up to 220 jobs by the end of this year.

Group profit before tax was down 62.6% to €24m in 2008 while group turnover was down just over 10% to €1.6bn.


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