A&J Stephen

A&J Stephen bemoans oil downturn and Brexit for profits dip

The Chapelton site near Aberdeen

A&J Stephen (Holdings) has reported a significant fall in profits citing the oil downturn and Brexit as contributing factors.

New accounts filed at Companies House show the Perth firm generated turnover of £17.47 million in the year to March 31, down from £24.92m in the prior year. Pre-tax profits also fell from £2.31m in 2016 to £209,564.

Company secretary John Webster said that, as previously forecast, the group had been negatively impacted by the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

The firm had also been hit by difficult trading conditions in North-East Scotland, where the group is among the developers progressing the Chapelton site south of Aberdeen, after a slump in the energy sector.

The firm sold 63 new homes during the year, a fall from 97 in 2016, and saw margins squeezed.

Mr Webster said the firm remained financially strong, but conceded it may take time to regain lost ground.

Councillors approve plans for 700 new homes in Perthshire village

Scone NorthPerth and Kinross Council has granted permission to build 700 new homes in Scone.

Councillors voted to grant planning permission in principal for the Scone North project despite more than 900 objections being lodged over concerns including traffic and pollution.

John Stephen, managing director of Perth-based construction firm A&J Stephen, said that if no decision was taken at Wednesday’s development management committee, he would appeal to Scottish Ministers “within a week”.

He told the committee: “This development is vitally important to the company and its workforce.”

Scone North locationCouncillor Willie Wilson said he raised an amendment to approve the plan “with a heavy heart”.

The alternative, he said, was to allow the plan to be considered by an “outsider” from the Scottish Government’s appeals division.

Protesters gathered with placards and banners outside Perth and Kinross Council’s High Street headquarters ahead of the meeting.