Hill & Smith hails 'best ever trading performance'
Specialist engineering group Hill & Smith, which makes its crash barriers in Bilston, has hailed its best ever trading performance in 2017.
Unveiling its full year figures today the company said revenue had risen eight per cent to a record of £585.1 million.
Underlying pre-tax profits jumped 15 per cent to £78.5m boosted by strong growth in its international infrastructure work and a good performance from its galvanizing businesses including Joseph Ash, which has sites in Walsall, Halesowen and Telford.
Meanwhile the core Hill & Smith barriers business in Bilston makes security barriers used around sites such as Whitehall and Windsor Castle, where The Royal Wedding will take place in May. It is also heavily involved in UK Smart Motorway programme.
Group chief executive Derek Muir said: "Hill & Smith has delivered its best ever trading performance in 2017 with good organic revenue and profit growth, supported by targeted bolt-on acquisitions and the restructuring of under-performing assets, improving overall returns and shareholder value.
"Our performance remains underpinned by our consistent and proven strategy of international diversity combined with the leading positions our businesses hold in their respective markets. Prospects in our core US and UK infrastructure markets as well as the other geographies in which we operate continue to be positive for 2018 and beyond.
"Overall, despite political and macro-economic uncertainties, we remain well positioned to again deliver another year of progress.
Hill & Smith has sites in the UK, France, USA, Sweden, Norway, India and Australia and during 2017 bought up businesses including cooling towers firm Tower Tech and Kenway. At the same time it pulled out of its roads business in India.
In the UK Hill & Smith is benefiting from the government's increased investment in the roads network. While demand for its temporary road safety barriers slowed in the second half of the year, with the UK's Smart Motorways scheme being delayed until 2018, the completion of the earlier phase of the work is completed demand has risen for its permanent safety barriers.
It has also seen 'intensified' demand for its range of defences against hostile vehicles in the light of the increased threat of terrorism in the UK. As well as projects to project bridges in London and sporting events Hill & Smith says it is talking with security agencies outside the UK.
Meanwhile, in the US, the administration has prioritised spending on US infrastructure, including building and repairing roads and bridges, and Hill & Smith says it is well positioned to benefit from any increased investment.
Given its strong performance the company has hiked its final dividend for the year by 15 per cent to 20.6p per share.