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Precast product demand boosts Van Elle sales

Van Elle

A surge in demand for precast products in the rail and civil engineering sectors has helped increase Van Elle’s revenue by almost 12% year on year to £94M.

Speaking to New Civil Engineer, chief executive Jon Fenton said it had invested in its precast concrete manufacturing facilities and had started off making precast piles. But it is now making a wide range of structures and products to meet demand. In particular sales of its modular beam have risen 57% in the last year.

Despite working on huge projects such as High Speed 2, Fenton said that the firm generally preferred smaller contracts with high margins. Overall gross margins were of 35.5% in the last financial year.

“We operate with an average contract size of £100,000. It allows us to be flexible and adaptable and efficient and that’s what enables us to generate these large margins,” he said.

Fenton confirmed that the company, which has long been on the acquisition trail, is in discussions about a possible acquisition having ruled out others, in part because of inflated price expectations.

The figures, released after the firm’s first year on the stock market, showed underlying operating profit increased from £11.1M in 2016 to £11.6M this year.

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