Safety barrier group says it remains on track despite project delays and bad weather

By Simon Penfold | Business | Published:

Specialist engineering group Hill & Smith, which makes its motorway crash barriers in Bilston, has seen its UK performance hit by project delays and bad weather, it revealed today.

Hill & Smith says its expectations for the year are unchanged despite the impact of project delays and bad weather in the UK

The company's security barriers are used around vulnerable sites such as Whitehall and Windsor Castle, where The Royal Wedding will take place this coming weekend, and it is also heavily involved in the UK smart motorway programme.

Ahead of its annual shareholder meeting today, a trading update for the first four months of the year shows that revenue of £185.1m is 'marginally' behind last year's £191.3m. The company says the figures are 'similar' after adjusting for takeovers and disposals and for the impact of the sterling strengthening against the dollar.

As well as its motorway crash barriers at Bilston, Hill & Smith owns Halesowen-based Joseph Ash Galvanizing, which has sites in Bilston, Telford and Walsall, and a string of other UK-based businesses

Underlying operating profit is lower than the same period last year. Although the group has seen positive trading in its overseas businesses, this has been offset by the performance across the UK businesses, "impacted by both project delays and adverse weather conditions".

But expectations for the full year remain unchanged; since mid March Hill & Smith has seen improved order intake across its UK road and utilities businesses while continuing to record strong performances in both the US and French operations.

The last four months has also seen four takeover deals for a total of £32.6m, including road sign suppler D Gibson Road & Quarry Services, Sweden's Signalvakter Syd as well as The Grating Company and Pro Composites.

Earlier this month the group also announced it was buying US safety products group Work Area

Derek Muir, group chief executive, said: "Despite project delays and the weather-impacted start to the year in the UK, conditions across our principal markets continue to be favourable. Overall, despite political and macroeconomic uncertainties, the board reconfirms that its expectations for the full year remain unchanged, albeit with a greater second half bias."

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.


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