Bridgend Hire hoists full-year earnings 52% to £493,000
BRIDGEND Hire, the Scottish equipment hire firm that last year acquired rival Leggat Plant, yesterday revealed a 52% surge in profits and said it was expecting business to boom over the next few years – even as the economy begins to drag.
Douglas Hill, a director at Glasgow-based Bridgend, yesterday told The Herald his company would “continue to look at other expansion opportunities” and that he was currently in negotiations with “a couple of possible acquisitions” in Scotland.
“I’m afraid it’s all top secret now, but we may have something to announce later in the year,” he said.
Bridgend,which employs 65 workers, f i l ed its latest accounts under special Companies Act provisions, which allow small companies to produce abbreviated financial statements, and revealed only retained profit of £333,143 in its financial year to the end of August 2007.
However, Hill told The Herald that the firm made a pre-tax profit of £493,000 during the period, compared with £325,000 the previous year. Turnover climbed to £1.9m, compared with £1.6m last time – although last financial year did not include a full contribution from Leggat, which Bridgend acquired last September.
In 2002, Barrhead plant hire boss Duncan Leggat hit the headlines after threatening to quit Scotland and put his 47 employees on the dole in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade MSPs not to ban fox-hunting.
Leggat’s firm, which is understood to have been acquired by Bridegend for around £2m,was founded as a building company by his greatgrandfather in 1863, and had been active in the plant hire market for years, specialising in providing cranes and lorries for builders.
Bridgend,which is owned by twins Brian and Edward Donaghy, has achieved rapid growth since it was established in 2003, allowing the brothers to diversify from their base in civil engineering.
Asked yesterday if the firm was concerned about the anticipated economic slowdown, Hill said: “There is a slight slowdown in the housebuilding market, but that will be more than offset by opportunities in civil engineering.
“We expect to do quite well out of the M74 extension and Commonwealth Games.There is also a large civil engineering market opening up in Ayrshire.”
Hill added that in the last quarter the firm had invested £1.2m in three new cranes and that Bridgend “was quietly confident in the future”.