Novus Celebrates Fifth Birthday with Record Results

  29 AUGUST, 2018
Novus Celebrates Fifth Birthday with Record Results

Novus has marked its fifth birthday by announcing sales of £148.6m in 2017 (2016: £130.3m) following four consecutive years’ growth in revenues and profits.

For the first time, the Stoke-headquartered contractor has been recognised in the annual Sunday Times Top Track 250 league table (206th) for having achieved some of the biggest sales among privately-owned mid-market growth companies in the UK.

The business, which traces its origins to the founding of Seddon more than 120 years ago, was formed in 2013 after the Seddon Group restructured into two independent businesses – Novus and Seddon.

In the first year, Novus achieved sales of £96.9m and recorded profit before tax of £2.3m. In 2017, the business achieved sales of £148.6M and profit before tax of £5.4m.

The company, which employs 1,000 people nationally, is entirely financed by its own cashflow, with no bank debt. In 2016, £1.5m was invested into a new modern headquarters building in Stoke-on-Trent.

Novus Locations

Novus operates from 30 locations across the UK with revenues coming from the refurbishment and maintenance of buildings for housing associations, local authorities, the NHS and the hotel, leisure and grocery retail sectors, as well as construction and new build projects across the Midlands and North West of England.

Chief Executive Neil Hand’s View

Commenting on the figures, Chief Executive Neil Hand said: “We’re delighted to have achieved industry-leading organic growth in every year since we became an independent business. And being recognised as one of the stand-out performers among privately-owned British companies is the icing on our fifth birthday cake. 

“Central to the way we do things is a risk governed, measured and controlled approach to managing our finances. This gives us the flexibility to take long-term decisions that are in the best interests of our employees and clients.

“Part of this includes a commitment to paying our suppliers according to their terms and, critically, on time. We’re very proud of our record and it’s why we have a loyal supply chain built on long-term relationships. 

“Like every business in our sector, cost inflation is a significant headwind. Our procurement team continues to do excellent work in managing our materials supply contracts and we always police our working capital closely. This means that we can maintain our financial independence, allowing us to run our business according to our values.”

Neil continued: “There are signs of a slowdown in construction and we remain mindful of this, even if maintenance continues to be an area where demand is fairly robust. We believe growth is achievable again this year but the strength of our financial position means we don’t need to pursue it at all costs.

“Our focus is on nurturing our existing relationships through a partnership-led approach to working with clients. We find that customers and suppliers return to us because of trust and an understanding that we will work together to solve problems.   

“To ensure we have the right platform in place for another five years of success, we’re making significant investments in the business, particularly in two key areas: people and technology.  Both are crucial to our continuing evolution and ensuring we remain at the leading edge of innovation in the sector. We’re very excited by the potential of enhancing our IT infrastructure to make life easier for our people and clients.

“Regionally, we are also investing in senior talent to join our Scottish business as we anticipate further growth in that market this year.

“We’re proud at how our business has developed as an independent entity under the Novus brand since the Seddon Group restructured. I joined the business as a 15-year old apprentice and 37 years later I lead a fantastic team of people working towards the same vision - being the best contractor to work with and the best contractor to work for.”

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We are proud to announce record sales of £155.8m in 2018 (2017: £148.6m) alongside pre-tax profits of £5.536m (2017: £5.441m) reporting five years of unbroken growth. We operate from 27 locations across the UK, with our head office being in Stoke-On-Trent and have earmarked £2m of our profit to support new investment in 2019. Planned projects include several digital transformation initiatives. Being a leading provider of maintenance and construction services to the social housing, university retail and hotel sectors, we are developing solutions that will integrate our IT systems with clients’ estate management software and property databases to automate internal processes. We have stepped up our investment into apprenticeships and trainees last year, employing 91 (2017: 65) and are funding the training of 20 quantity surveyors as we seek to address specific skill gaps in the business and  the wider industry’s talent pool. We employ 1,000 people nationally. To celebrate our fifth birthday in 2018 we delivered a nationwide, community-led campaign called ‘The Big Five’ donating £100,000 in time, labour and materials to support five community projects across the UK. The projects were just five of 340 social value initiatives we led last year, positively impacting 14,659 lives.  Our achievements were recognised in 2018 when we were presented with a National Award for Educational Partnership by Business in the Community (BITC). Earlier this year, we were listed among the top five fastest payers to its supply chain with an average of only 26 days against an industry average of 43 days. Five months into the current financial year, we are targeting further sustainable growth and have 90 per cent of our 2019 turnover target already secured. In February 2019, Alan Nixon was appointed the new Chief Executive Officer. Alan, was an existing member of the board and has worked with us – Novus was a part of Seddon Group until 2013 – for more than 30 years. Commenting on the 2018 financial results, Nixon said: “In a market beset with uncertainty, we had another year to be proud of. We grew revenues and profits sustainably as we achieved our business plan, while significantly strengthening our balance sheet so that we can continue to invest in innovation this year and over the long-term. “Novus, under the guidance of its chairman and fourth generation of the Seddon family, Stuart Seddon, was committed to being a responsible contractor that gave something back to its communities, long before it became a requirement in contract bids. We’re pleased to report strong data on our CSR investment alongside our trading performance.      “Our BITC Award and recent commendation for industry-leading payment practices all stem from our culture, which is rooted in being a family-owned business. Ensuring the principles that stem from this continue to guide how we operate, even as we scale the business, is an important objective for myself and the board.  “Looking ahead, the market remains tight. But, with our customer-centric approach and spend on exciting new digital innovations, we’re well placed to continue on our path of manageable growth.”