Tolent halves its losses

Tolent chief executive Paul Webster

Tolent chief executive Paul Webster

Tolent’s 2021 accounts show a 7% increase in group turnover to £197.9m, a new high for the company. The housing division grew by more than 40% in the year to turn over £66.2m.

The bottom line £4.0m loss after tax was attributed to ‘a perfect storm’ of a bad debt, a loss-making contract and a challenging economic environment.

The loss was less than half the £8.3m lost (after tax) in 2020.

Despite recent losses, the underlying business remains profitable, the directors insist, with the firm in ‘a robust financial position’.

There have also been some changes to the main board recently with Paul Webster moving up from chief operating officer to chief executive on the departure of Andy McLeod in October, and Mark Overton joining as chief financial officer in February 2022 after a decade at Colas.

Mark Overton said: “We have worked hard over the last six months to financially strengthen the business and increase working capital which has included the renegotiation of our finance facility, a rights issues which raised £3.7m in new share capital and an £8m cash injection following the completion of a land deal which will soon become South Seaham Garden Village.”

The group has also been exposed to the repercussions surrounding a large number of developers, contractors and supply chain partners falling into administration. Tolent was left with a bad debt of £2.1m from the collapse of High Street Group.

Chief executive Paul Webster said: “Our priority moving forward is to secure a sustainable profit, working with trusted clients as we continue to increase our workload within the public sector. We are focused on consolidating our position within the Northeast and Yorkshire and will continue to deliver some of the flagship projects we have become known for.

“Naturally with the increasing pressures on wage inflation, material prices and availability we have to be cautious in our approach to winning new work, however, we have a strong and identified pipeline of just under £1bn across a variety of sectors that provides us with the confidence to be cautiously optimistic for our business over the next few years.”

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