Last month’s China U-turn on covid strategy will help Gleeds' revenue push this year
The business is targeting another hike in turnover this year, as income for 2022 will be up by close to a quarter when it files its accounts.
Gleeds, which is carrying out commercial and cost management work on HS2 and Sizewell C, said revenue from its global business last year will be around £235m, up from the £190m it posted for the year before.
And chief executive Graham Harle said it was aiming for turnover of £270m this year with work in China, where it is carrying out life sciences and logistics schemes, expected to increase after that country’s recent U-turn over its zero covid policy.
Gleeds has around 100 staff in China and Harle admitted: “It has affected our business and it has been challenging delivering projects. There is a lot of [the] Omicron [variant] around at the moment but hopefully after the Chinese new year [on 22 January] life will start to return to normal. Basically, they are where we were with covid 15 months ago."
Harle said revenue in the UK was up a third to £130m with its cost management business, its largest in its home market, accounting for around 50% of that number. “Winning HS2 when we did in 2020 has really helped,” Harle said.
Energy and other infrastructure work had also helped drive the rise along with public sector work. But Harle said private developers were still holding back on schemes. “They haven’t gone away, they’re still there but developers are being cautious.”
Issues remained around inflation and labour supply and Harle admitted: “I don’t know where all the people the industry needs are going to come from.”
Gleeds is looking to bring global staff numbers up to 3,000 from a current figure of 2,400 with Harle saying the firm is on the lookout for an extra 700 or 800 staff once it had factored in the churn rate.
“Recruitment for us is a big headache, everybody is fishing in the same pond,” he added.
First published on Building Magazine on 12/01/2023