Marshalls reports rise in profits

Hard-landscaping firm attributes increased turnover to sector focus and sustainable products.

Hard landscaping firm Marshalls is citing a commitment to sustainable products for the company's strong performance in the first six months of this year.

The paving products specialist reported a nine per cent revenue increase to £177.2m, while pre-tax profits were up 50 per cent to £12.2m in the six months to June. That compares with £162.6m and £8.1m during the same period last year.

Despite reports claiming around £8m worth of orders for the Olympic Park project had boosted this year's figures, the firm attributed its success to strong sales of low-carbon and permeable paving and a focus on growth areas such as the education, rail and house-building sectors.

Group marketing director Chris Harrop said: "The Olympics orders have been spread out over the past few years and are not finished yet, so they are not the driver of the first-half performance.

"The basis of our success has been focusing on the right sectors and having the most sustainable products."

Landscaping firms should focus on their areas of expertise and track market trends to keep ahead of the game, he advised.

Harrop said the domestic market was still fragile because of low consumer confidence. "We can't create demand where there is no ability or desire to spend money, so we will continue providing the best products for people who still want new gardens or driveways," he added.

With new ranges of street furniture and tree grills that are integrating hard and soft landscaping set to launch in the coming weeks, Harrop said the company's focus would now switch to commercial retail and public realm "greening".

Green service provider and landscape construction firm the Landscape Group reported strong results with a turnover of £51m in the 12 months to 31 March 2011, up 19 per cent from £43m for the previous year.

Profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was up by 52 per cent to £3.2m compared to £2.1m for the same period last year. The rise was attributed to a number of contract wins and efficiency improvements.

The firm described its financial position as "very strong", with opportunities for growth focused on the increasing trend in the public sector to outsource contracts as local authorities continue to seek value for money amid a climate of cutbacks and tight budgets.


The increase in Marshall's pre-tax profits in the first half of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010 - 50%

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