Sicon Limited, the parent company of John Sisk & Sons’ construction and construction-related businesses in Ireland, UK and Europe, reported financial results for the year ended December 31, 2020, with revenue of business of 1.503 billion euros and pre-tax profit of 23.3 M €
The group has maintained high cash levels throughout the year and has no bank loan. Over 98% of the group’s turnover is generated in construction and related activities. The figures also include the results of the Korine Property Partners and Origo Distribution activities, both wholly owned subsidiaries.
Increased operating costs
Sicon recorded strong performance for 2020 after taking into account the significant negative impacts that the Covid-19 pandemic had on the group’s operations throughout 2020 and continued into the current year. The group has experienced a substantial increase in operating costs and has taken various measures to mitigate these incremental costs. Its construction activities in Ireland were more impacted than in other countries due to site closures imposed by the government from March 2020. However, performance and profitability levels rebounded well in the second half of the year, as European economies have started to reopen.
Growth of Sisk in key sectors
CEO of John Sisk & Fils Steve bowcott says 2020 was a year like no other.
“Thank you to all of our employees for their commitment and hard work, which has allowed the company to operate and manage closures professionally and safely,” commented Steve Bowcott. “Thank you also to our supply chain partners and other stakeholders for their support.
“Growth continues across all of our businesses in key industries such as life sciences and data, in the UK and across Europe, as well as in providing much needed social housing through our division. Sisk Living. Our new business portfolio remains strong in key target sectors, and while there is some macroeconomic uncertainty, we believe we are well positioned and will continue to gain work.
“We have also expanded the portfolio of services we offer through Vision Built, our offsite steel framing company; the continued growth of Sisk Living, our social housing business; our partnership with Designer Group in Sensori, our facilities management business and the new fit-out offering that we will be launching, which will provide new business opportunities this year and beyond.
Over € 150 million in project postponements due to Covid-19
Commenting on the results, Ger Penny, Chief Financial Officer of Sicon, said: “We are very pleased with the results reported in the context of the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has posed to all businesses around the world. The group’s activities in 2020 were impacted to varying degrees by the effects of the pandemic, the year being essentially one of two halves, with levels of performance and profitability rebounding strongly in the second half of the year with the reopening of economies. In our construction activities, the effect of the Covid-19 site closures and associated delays was to postpone more than 150 million euros of work from 2020 to 2021. “
Projects by country
Projects included the delivery of the iconic new roof for Pearse Station in Dublin, the handover of the East Quad Building in Grangegorman and major progress on BioCork 2, Bonham Quay in Galway and 60 Dawson Street in Dublin city center, to name a few.
In Ireland, work was interrupted on all projects with an almost total shutdown of the construction sector for more than two months in the first half of the year with significant impacts on deadlines.
Sisk turned the pot earlier this year on the new Isle of Man ferry terminal in Liverpool, and progress has continued at a steady pace. The iconic Mercian Project, Birmingham’s tallest residential tower, continued in 2020 and peaked in early 2021, and a major office project for Banco Santander in Milton Keynes was won and started.
European activity continued to develop mainly in the specialized sectors of data centers and life sciences, where Sisk has extensive experience. During the year, the group worked on projects in Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden.
Sisk Living, the group’s housing division, delivered 275 life-saving social housing units in 2020, which is below our budget target due to the sector foreclosure.
Sensori Facilities Management, which focuses on providing fully integrated facility management services to a large customer base, was able to quickly adapt its offering to help businesses secure their workplaces Covid-19 and, as a result, experienced another good year.
Vision Built, which is based in Galway and was acquired by the group in mid-2019, has made good progress in 2020 and has worked closely with the Sisk Living team on a number of projects with the aim of leveraging of its off-site construction capabilities.
Leadership in sustainable development
Sisk Outlook 2021
The order book in all the geographic areas where the group operates is generally very solid. The civil engineering pipeline is very good in the UK and Ireland as the governments of both countries commit to major investment programs as part of their post-pandemic recovery plans.
The group has developed plans to identify and respond quickly to the inflationary pressures it experiences in all the geographic areas in which the group operates. A rapid increase in demand for building products and materials has stretched supply chains, and supplier delivery times have increased dramatically over the past six months.
Sisk has been successful in executives with Vision Built, Sensori and its strategic project teams for several Irish government agencies including the OPW, the Department of Education and the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).
In the UK, the civilian team has earned a spot on several frameworks, including Highways England, York and Humber local Authorities and Network Rail. The construction team is bidding on key public sector SCAPE and NHS frameworks.