Breedon profits fall by half as it reveals succession plan update

Construction materials group Breedon has reported a fall in annual profits of almost 50% against the backdrop of “considerable disruption” caused by COVID-19.

Pre-tax profits for 2020 dived to £48.1 million, compared to £94.6m for 2019, on annual revenues of £928.7m compared to £929.6m previously.

Chief executive Pat Ward said: “The pandemic brought unprecedented pressures to bear on the group in 2020 which demanded an exceptional response from everyone in our business, and I would like to say thank you to all our stakeholders for their support during a difficult year.

“Most especially, I would like to thank our colleagues who have worked tirelessly and enabled us to recover strongly in the second half to deliver a very creditable outcome for the year.

“Although we remain mindful of the ongoing impact of Covid-19, with the worst of the pandemic now hopefully behind us and some welcome clarity on Brexit, I believe the prospects for Breedon and for our industry are increasingly positive.

“With robust commitments from the UK and Irish governments to infrastructure investment and continuing long-term demand for housing, forecasters are expecting this year and next to see steady growth in demand for our products in both countries.

“During 2020 we proved our ability to deliver a resilient performance against a backdrop of unprecedented disruption. Our track record, coupled with improving market conditions, gives us considerable confidence in the long-term outlook for our company.”

Breedon also provided an update on the timing of its group chief executive succession and announced the appointment of a new non-executive director.

As announced in October, Rob Wood, group finance director, will succeed Pat Ward as chief executive officer. Breedon said the pair has continued to work closely to ensure an orderly transition, and announced that Mr Wood will be appointed as chief executive officer on April 1, upon which date Mr Ward will step down,but will remain available to the board until the end of the year.

James Brotherton, who joined Breedon as chief financial officer designate on January 1, will succeed Rob as chief financial officer and will join the board on April 1.

Helen Miles will also join Breedon as a non-executive director on April 1, bringing a wealth of operational and commercial experience from a range of listed businesses and an understanding of the broader infrastructure sector.

Ms Miles is currently capital and commercial services director and a member of the executive committee of Severn Trent PLC, the FTSE100 utility company. Prior to Severn Trent, she held senior leadership positions with Homeserve PLC and BT Group PLC, and is currently a non-executive director of the Royal Navy.

Breedon’s chairman, Amit Bhatia, said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Pat for his excellent leadership of the group. Breedon has thrived during the five years that Pat has been chief executive and I wish him all the best for the future. Pat will be succeeded by Rob Wood, who has worked very closely with Pat on the development and execution of the group’s strategy, and I look forward to continuing to work with him.

“Pat, Rob and James have worked hard over the last few months to ensure a seamless transition. We are very pleased to welcome Helen to Breedon. I am confident that Helen’s perspective and infrastructure expertise will be highly valuable to the board and that her contribution will help to support the future development of the group.”

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