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Poor returns force Tilbury Douglas into maintenance work

LOW MARGINS have forced contractor Tilbury Douglas to reduce its mainstream construction activities in favour of long term maintenance and facilities management contracts.

'We are shifting our focus to facilities services,' said group chairman Mike Bottjer last week as he published interim results for the first half of 1998.

The construction division reported operating profits of pounds3.5M for the first half of 1998, compared with pounds3M for the same period of last year. Construction turnover was up from pounds157M at pounds179M.

Group profits were depressed by exceptional charges of pounds2.5M relating to the pounds48.5M acquisition of facilities services provider How. As a result pre-tax profits fell from pounds9.2M last year to pounds8M. Profits before exceptional items were pounds10.5M on a turnover of pounds266.6M - up from pounds241M.

Bottjer said that the group wants reduce its exposure to construction. He said the How acquisition was an important step towards this.

Tilbury Douglas also aims to improve construction margins through non- traditional partnering and negotiated and design and build work.

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