M Group Services halves losses

M Group Services has halved its pre-tax losses following the relaxation of coronavirus measures.

For the year to 31 March, the infrastructure services company recorded a pre-tax loss of £30.4m, cutting in half last year’s £61m markdown.

The group said the improving picture was “primarily” due to the lifting of coronavirus restrictions over the last year, which affected work.

In the previous year, the contractor battled with reduced turnover, “temporary operating efficiency” and overhead costs that it was unable to absorb.

M Group Services chief executive Jim Arnold said the firm had made “good progress”, both in securing acquisitions over the last year and growing organically.

Turnover also improved, coming in at £1.55bn and marking an increase of about a quarter on the £1.26bn recorded last year.

This was partly due to a spate of acquisitions, including Skanska UK’s highway maintenance business, which was confirmed in April 2021.

That alone added more than £300m to its transport business, where turnover rose healthily from £181m to £489m. M Group Services has since renamed the company Milestone Infrastructure.

The firm has made a total of four acquisitions in the past year.

Transport infrastructure remains “buoyant”, according to the group, which highlighted a demand across the country to increase capacity and improve services through investment.

M Group Services also received a boost from a number of frameworks it secured places on over the last year. “Long-standing relationships” with clients such as Network Rail, Heathrow Airport and Thames Water remain the focus of the firm’s business.

Frameworks with Thames Water and Welsh Water were “predominantly” responsible for an increase in turnover at the firm’s water business, while the acquisition of Waldon Ltd in July 2021 boosted turnover at its telecoms business.

However, the end to a joint venture in the energy sector drove turnover down at that business by more than £83m.

M Group Services’ order book has now grown to £5.8bn, compared with £3.9m in the previous year, which it points out is equal to “over three years’ turnover”.

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