Article by Kerry Lorimer
Hampshire-based investor Portchester Equity has acquired Brymor Group, rescuing it from administration.
Brymor, one of the largest independent construction companies in the UK, last month filed notice of its intention to appoint administrators, blaming cashflow problems during the COVID-19 pandemic for its difficulties.
Portchester Equity confirmed on Friday that it had acquired the assets and business of the Brymor Group, including Brymor Construction Limited.
“When cashflow issues arising from the pandemic forced the group to appoint administrators, Portchester Equity stepped in to secure its future,” it said.
Brymor, which employs over 120 staff, was established in 1987 by chairman Stephen Morton and his wife Jan. It has a targeted annual turnover of £75m.
Earlier this year, the firm was appointed main contractor to build a state-of-the art gym for Southampton FC, trebling the size of the club’s existing facility at its Staplewood training ground.
Recent major projects include the £27m contract to build the Horizon Cruise Terminal at the Port of Southampton, and the £11.1m refurbishment of the University of Southampton’s Montefiore Halls of Residence.
In the year to 31 March 2020, Brymor Group turned over £76.3m and made a pre-tax loss of £625,000. Brymor Construction turned over £66.1m and lost £166,000 before tax.
In the company’s annual report, Morton said Brymor had endured a “challenging year” which had impacted on both operational and financial performance, with the likelihood of extra costs and uncertain market conditions as a result of COVID-19 forcing the company to take a prudent approach to work in progress.
Postponement of one major contract and a refusal to accept the “onerous” conditions on another had also increased its reliance on securing residential and government or local authority-led projects, which traditionally returned reduced margins, he said.
When contacted by Construction News, Brymor said it was not commenting on the implications of the acquisition for current employees.
Portchester Equity is owned by Mark Thistlethwayte, who also owns Welborne Land Limited, the master developer of the Welborne Garden Village to the north of Fareham.
It takes majority stakes in UK based businesses, investing between £3m and £10m in companies with a “consistent track record of profitability”.
“Most important of all is finding management teams with whom we can build a successful long-term working relationship,” it said.