Motherwell Bridge Starts Year With £6 Million Contract Wins

Motherwell Bridge, the Lanarkshire-based engineering contractor, has made a strong start to the New Year with the announcement of two contract wins with a combined value of £6 million.

The group’s main UK subsidiary, MB Engineering Services Ltd, which is headed by managing director Russell Ward, has secured a major bulk-storage tank refurbishment contract from Shell which will involve the overhaul of a 72 metre diameter storage tank at Shell’s Stanlow oil refinery in Cheshire.

The company’s new Materials Handling and Process Engineering division, which was set-up in October 2008 by Mr Ward, has also been awarded an engineering and construction contract from a leading renewable energy producer. This is the first major order for the new division and it will involve the construction and installation of a wood-pelleting plant. Both contracts are due for completion by the end of 2009.

Mr Ward said: “It’s extremely encouraging to start 2009 with these contracts in place. When we launched the new Materials Handling division last year, our aim was to grow it initially to a £10 million-plus annual turnover division and we’re well on our way to achieving this already.”

Commenting on Motherwell Bridge’s group performance over the past six months, company chairman Hugh Hayes said: “As a group we’ve suffered from the general downturn in worldwide demand for steel which has affected new orders relating to gasholder projects, several of which have now been deferred until demand picks up again. We’ve also seen a slowdown on some current general engineering contracts as clients change timescales.

“Despite this, I still expect the group to achieve a healthy profit in the year to June 2009, on a turnover of about £50 million.

“Our cashflow is strong, and we continue to manage the balance sheet aggressively, as any contracting business should do. We have already repaid £2.5 million of the bank loans we took on last summer to fund our management buy-out (MBO), and will be making further repayments before June 2009.

“In the current economic climate we are careful about who we take work from and give credit to, and have consciously cut-back our exposure in certain sectors as a precautionary measure. However, enquiry levels overall remain high and I look forward to another strong year for Motherwell Bridge.”