Cambridge solar job helps Barnes hold steady

Turnover at Ipswich-based Barnes Group has reached £100m for the second consecutive year, according to the firm’s newly published annual accounts.

Revenue for the year ending 30 September 2023 reached £100.7m, up marginally on the previous year’s £100.5m and more than 20 per cent higher than its 2020/21 total of £80.3m.

“It is pleasing to report that the extreme pressures for the construction industry of 2022, including both substantial cost inflation and shortage of capacity against post-Covid demand, have abated considerably,” director William Barnes noted in the strategic review that accompanied the accounts.

While revenue remained stable, a lower cost of sales helped pre-tax profit to increase from £2.1m to £3.2m, as the impact of inflation eased.

The company, which marked its 45th birthday in 2023, was still affected to a degree by “significant increases in interest rates”, Barnes said, which slowed down the rate of construction in residential building.

Major contracts undertaken in 2022/23 included the re-roofing of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. The project (pictured) was notable for the college authorities’ decision to install solar panels on the roof of the chapel as part of a programme to reduce carbon emissions.

Barnes Group described the job, which it completed in December 2023, as “a groundbreaking example of historic buildings adopting modern technology to counter climate change”.

The group includes general contractor Barnes Construction and mechanical and electrical firm Bower Fuller among its businesses. It is free of bank debt and held a year-end cash balance of £21.9m. During the year, the company paid out £1.1m in dividends, compared with £1.8m in 2021/22.

Barnes Group employed a monthly average of 208 staff in its latest financial year, up slightly from 206 the year before.

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