Contractor blames Grenfell for drop in profits

The Mears Group has blamed delays to work orders following the Grenfell Tower tragedy as a major factor in its profits falling by almost eight per cent over the past year.

The contractor carries out repairs and maintenance work for many social landlords, as well as providing housing management and care services across the housing sector. After a difficult year for business it has reported a drop in revenue from £940.1m to £900.2m (£766.1m from housing contracts down three per cent and £134.1m from care, down 12 per cent) and a fall in profits before tax from £40.1m to £37.1m for 2017.

Mears has seen expected work orders delayed while customers reassess their planned maintenance programmes, as well as disruption to its care arm, which led to a restructuring of the business and some closures. However, the company has said it expects an upturn in its fortunes as a result of a “healthy pipeline of opportunities” as it bids for £2bn of work.

David Miles, chief executive at Mears, said:

“While 2017 proved to be a challenging year, we made solid operational progress. The decline in housing revenues following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower has stabilised, although there still remains some uncertainty as to the speed at which these revenues will recover.” He added: “The strategic evolution of our business means we are gaining access to opportunities that previously would have been out of our reach.”

By Patrick Mooney, editor