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Construction group Stepnell delivers robust business results

Construction specialist Stepnell, which has its head office in Rugby, has announced a robust set of financial results for the year ending 31 March 2018.

The 151-year-old family-owned firm which operates across central and southern England has attributed its strong business performance to a focus on business efficiency, project selectivity and robust risk management.

Stepnell reported revenue for the year up 15 per cent from £127.4 million to £146.3 million with a significantly improved profit before tax of just over £2.07 million (2017: £787,254). The company’s current order book stands at a healthy £190 million.

“Despite general market uncertainty, Stepnell has had a good year with the business securing more profitable, high quality projects and expanding our geographic reach with the opening of a new office in Southampton and the acquisition of new premises in Bromsgrove strengthening our presence in the West Midlands,” says Tom Wakeford, joint managing director of Stepnell. “Business growth has also been driven by the company’s complex project capability and the commitment of our talented staff to provide our clients with a first-class construction service that adds real value to their organisations.”

Stepnell’s performance has also been helped by an increase in project opportunities coming through a growing portfolio of long-term construction frameworks with clients that include National Grid; Worcester, Oxford Brookes and Reading universities and Dorset County Council. The firm, which has regional offices in Rugby, Nottingham, Kidderminster, Wantage, Southampton and Poole, most recently secured a place on the four-year, £8 billion Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Construction Framework for the delivery of new school buildings in South West and South East England.

“With a strong balance sheet, a healthy order book and a focus on delighting our clients and being selective about the projects we do, we are cautiously optimistic about Stepnell’s growth prospects in 2018/2019,” says Tom Wakeford. “While care, retirement and education remain our biggest market sectors, we have a healthy balance of commercial/industrial, retail, leisure, civil engineering, health and residential projects making the business well-positioned to adapt and respond to changing market forces. We also believe we have the right strategies such as careful selection of the right opportunities in place to build on our performance this year.”

Top contract awards for Stepnell in 2017/2018 include a £20 million, retirement village in Cheltenham, for retirement living specialist Richmond Villages, and a 64-bed care home and 24-bedroom rehabilitation facility in Cadbury Heath, near Bristol for Brackley Investments. The company also completed a state-of-the-art new community medical centre in Churchdown, Gloucestershire, for Brackley Investments.

In Birmingham, Stepnell completed the final phase of work on national disability charity Sense’s £14 million TouchBase Pears centre in Selly Oak, and was appointed by Cordwell Property Group to build Wisemore Central, a mixed-use regeneration scheme in Walsall that will bring a Travelodge Hotel, McDonald’s, and a further 15,000 sq ft of leisure and retail premises to the town centre. The project follows the company’s recent completion of a significant refurbishment of the town’s Rugby Central Shopping Centre for CT Properties in Rugby where it is also building a new boarding house for Rugby School.

While construction continued on Nottingham Trent University’s new flagship £9.1 million Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies, Stepnell also secured several high-profile higher education schemes including the Art House, a major building transformation project that will create a new teaching, learning and public exhibition space for the University of Worcester, and a £13.1 million building modernisation for the University of Leicester.

In Northamptonshire, Stepnell began a ground-breaking infrastructure project for Aero Research Partners (ARP), to transform the derelict Victorian Catesby railway tunnel in Northamptonshire into the new Catesby Aero Research Facility, a world-class aerodynamic efficiency vehicle testing centre.

Further south, Stepnell continued work in Oxford on a multi-million-pound phased modernisation of Oxford Brookes University’s Sinclair building which houses the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. The project which was awarded through the University’s construction framework to upgrade campus facilities, is part of a £220 million, 10-year estate investment programme.

Stepnell also started construction of three new supermarkets for German global grocery chain Lidl in Bedford, Loughborough and Droitwich, and a £16 million scheme to build two 75-bed care facilities for care home developer Frontier in Flitwick and Stotfold, Bedfordshire. The company broke ground on a development of 28 affordable homes in Trowbridge for Wiltshire County Council and began work in Poole on an 80-bed care home development with specialist nursing and dementia care facilities for the Borough of Poole.

Image: Artist’s impression of a new £8 million care home at Stotfold, Bedfordshire, which Stepnell is building for care home developer Frontier. Image courtesy of Harris Irwin Associates.


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