One In Six SME Construction Firms In Debt
18th September 2011
Latest research from Baker Tilly and Company Watch focused on Construction SMEs with an annual turnover of £5 million – £25 million shows that over a quarter of companies in this sector have been hit by a 20% or greater downturn in sales, according to their latest filed accounts.
This is compounded by figures revealing that one in six have a current ratio of below 1, suggesting potential difficulty in repayment of any short to medium-term debt liabilities if called upon to do so.
However, according to our research, liquidity is stronger in the construction sector than for the SME average across all industries in this turnover bracket.
Mark Wilson, partner at Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery LLP commented: "Although some in the sector may currently have the cash reserves to survive, we expect to see that for a number of players, cash will run out as sales, and more importantly, profits - continue to slide. The short term slashing of prices in order to win work does little to help the bottom line and is not sustainable in the long term.
"Rising costs globally in the sector, largely raw materials caused by rising energy prices, are also hitting the profits in construction much harder than in other sectors.
"In addition, there is concern that we are yet to see what the full impact of the public sector cuts will be – but the early ripples have already been too much for some."
The figures also show that almost one in three construction companies have seen a 50% plus fall in their Profit Before Tax (PBT).
Denis Baker, CEO of Company Watch said: "The fall in revenues and profitability in the construction sector highlights not just the liquidity issues for the struggling companies themselves, but also the deteriorating risk profile for their stakeholders, such as suppliers and clients who need to be proactive in controlling and managing down their exposure to potential failures in the sector."