Cruden hails ‘bright outlook’ after weathering pandemic storm

The former Victoria Infirmary site in Glasgow

THE Cruden Group has reported a 22nd consecutive year of profitable trading despite the firm’s financial results being ‘significantly impacted’ by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cruden has announced its annual results for the year to 31 March 2021. Despite a reduced effective trading period within the year due to the initial lockdown period, the business generated a pre-tax profit of £2.4 million before exceptional items due to Covid, with reported turnover of £191.5 million.

This comprised construction for external clients of £153 million, representing an average of approximately 2,900 units under construction during the year, and the sale of private housing of £38 million, including the group’s share of joint ventures, representing 159 private homes sold in the year.

Cruden revealed it has maintained a ‘strong capital base’ with net assets of £48.8 million, cash reserves of £49.8 million, and access to ‘significant’ undrawn bank facilities.

The number of homes dropped from 241 to 159, as a direct impact of lockdown and the  pandemic, however, the average sales value grew from £196,000 to £225,000.

Cruden has almost 600 direct employees – including 60 apprentices – and up to a further 1,000 subcontractors in the supply chain at any time. The group added that it is committed to its traditional apprenticeship programmes, with around 17% of Cruden Building’s site-based workforce currently undertaking trade apprenticeships.

Cruden explained that it is also contributing to the nation’s net zero ambitions, including delivering the design of Scotland’s first net zero housing development on the site of a former care home, the Silverlea housing and community project, as part of the £1.3 billion Granton Waterfront regeneration project.

Cruden is also building Scotland’s first social housing development to Passivhaus standards on behalf of Hanover (Scotland). The homes are said to use up to 90% less energy for heating and cooling than conventional buildings. The business has also signed a green energy supply contract with Scottish Power and is delivering green energy solutions including ground and air source heat pumps as well as infrastructure to enable electric vehicles charging as standard across many developments.

New projects include developing, with City of Edinburgh, the regeneration site at Fountainbridge which will comprise 460 new homes, along with associated retail, office and community space, all targeting ‘significant’ levels of sustainability through fabric first design accompanied by an exhaust air source heat pump energy solution.

Cruden is also constructing 344 homes for Sanctuary Housing Association and Beech Grove Homes at the Victoria Infirmary site in Glasgow.

Kevin Reid, chief executive of the Cruden Group, said, “I am very proud that our experienced and dedicated team has overcome the significant challenges faced by the construction sector, including having to suspend all activity for three months of this financial year. We have weathered the storm and the outlook for the year ahead looks bright and our future construction pipeline is robust, particularly as we are included in several important procurement frameworks.

“We are well placed to benefit from these frameworks together with significant opportunities driven by a robust housing market in the central belt of Scotland. Our house building activities have expanded in recent years and market conditions and opportunities provide further scope for growth in this area.

“While the industry is working at full stretch to regain the ground lost during the last 18 months, we are extremely mindful that climate change has the potential to pose greater challenge than the pandemic, so we are firmly focussed on reducing our carbon footprint while constructing green and energy-efficient homes in order to contribute to a better future for the planet.”