Marshall of Cambridge records annual loss - but revenues soar to £2.26billion

PUBLISHED: 09:48 07 July 2017

Robert Marshall, group chief executive of Marshall

Robert Marshall, group chief executive of Marshall

ILIFFE

Marshall of Cambridge recorded a pre-tax loss last year of £9.8million despite a huge rise in revenues.

Marshall's head office at Cambridge AirportMarshall's head office at Cambridge Airport

The company put the disappointing 2016 result down to three specific issues in Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group relating to decisions made more than three years ago. It followed a £22.2million profit in 2015.

In a trading statement to the Stock Exchange on Tuesday July 4, the company reported improved profitability in the first half of 2017.

The 108-year-old family firm’s revenues soared by 43 per cent to £2.26billion last year, but group chief executive Robert Marshall said an estimated loss of £26million on its largest and most complex engineering project, the unsuccessful acquisition of Hawker Beechcraft Ltd at Broughton and under-investment in the contract pipeline for its advanced composites business led to the business diving into the red.

Mr Marshall said: “The headline financial performance is clearly not one that I would have wished for and with this disappointment has come the need to address the root causes.”

Andy Hill, founder and chief executive of housebuilder Hill, left, with Robert Marshall, CEO of the Marshall Group. The two firms have annouced a strategic joint venture to build 450 new houses near Cambridge Airport.Andy Hill, founder and chief executive of housebuilder Hill, left, with Robert Marshall, CEO of the Marshall Group. The two firms have annouced a strategic joint venture to build 450 new houses near Cambridge Airport.

He said challenges in the management of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group had been addressed, along with the way the group manages, monitors and influences its wholly-owned subsidiaries.

There were some highlights, however, with Marshall Motor Holdings plc acquiring the dealer Ridgeway for £109million, helping it add a further £1billion to its annual sales turnover.

There was investment in property and infrastructure at Cambridge Airport and other sites, and planning permission was secured on 160 acres of land for the Wing development, which will deliver 1,300 homes, a primary school and community space along with leisure, retail and commercial facilities.

Within aerospace and defence, there were strong performances in its land systems, aeropeople and aerostructures businesses.

Wing development plan by Marshall and Hill: the two combined firms are building 450 new homes off the Newmarket Road near Cambridge Airport, as seen on this map the site will include education, leisure and shopping facilities.Wing development plan by Marshall and Hill: the two combined firms are building 450 new homes off the Newmarket Road near Cambridge Airport, as seen on this map the site will include education, leisure and shopping facilities.

The group also celebrated 50 years of supporting the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Hercules C-130s.

The company also secured the Queen’s Award for International Trade, its second Queen’s Award in three years.

Mr Marshall added: “Despite three specific challenges in the year, 2016 was another year of value creation in the group, building on five years of continuous growth.

“We had a number of significant achievements in the year, including the award of planning permission for our Wing development and another exceptional result from Marshall Motor Holdings plc, as well as strong performances from a number of the key business units in Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group.

Marshall Motor Holdings recorded a strong yearMarshall Motor Holdings recorded a strong year

“As always, our focus is providing outstanding service to all of our customers and delivering our five-year plan. As we approach the half-year, we are on track.”

In its trading update yesterday, the company said: “The board is cognisant of the economic and political uncertainty following the UK referendum on EU membership and industry forecasts for continuing declines in the UK new car market. The board therefore remains cautious. Nonetheless, given the strong results during H1 [the first half of the year], the board’s current outlook for the full year is now ahead of its previous expectations.”

Meanwhile, Marshall Group rose 10 places to 19th in The Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 100 league table, which ranks Britain’s 100 private companies with the biggest sales. Anglian Water was ranked 48th.

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