Colas back in profit after pandemic troubles

Colas back in profit after pandemic troubles

Colas has returned to profit after complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic sunk the firm into a loss back in 2020.

The contractor tabled a pre-tax profit of £7.9m in the year to 31 December 2021 after a £2.8m loss the year prior.

The 2021 profit hike was mainly due to Colas successfully completing a number of big jobs that “experienced some delays due to the pandemic” in 2020.

One such job was the £8m 2.5km Humber Bank Link Road in East Lincolnshire, which was completed in early in 2021.

The firm also scooped spots on major road frameworks including a seven-year work compilation with Leeds City Council and a spot on National Highways’ £3.6bn scheme delivery framework.

The impact of the pandemic did, however, push Colas’s 2021 turnover down to £212.3m compared with £229.8m the year before.

Looking ahead, the firm announced a “growth plan to increase turnover” in the coming years – with plans to recruit at least 300 employees to work on National Highways’ £328m Area 9 contract, which it scooped in January 2022.

“Expansion in [the] Midlands and the North is expected to grow and the future is bright and positive as we build on the Colas brand and relationships that have been formed,” a statement from the firm said.

It added that “collaboration with various joint ventures” will also help it grow in the coming years.

The firm decreased its total employee number by more than 100 between 2020 and 2021 though, according to its annual report. In 2021 it had an average staff total of 968 compared with 1098 the year before.

The firm also moved its headquarters to Birmingham from West Sussex in 2021, which it said was part of “its long-term strategic growth plans and post-pandemic property review”. The firm also opened a new office in Leeds later that year.

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