A HEAVY plant supplier has grown its profits over the last two years despite sales falling with the collapse of the construction industry.
HM Plant, which sells Hitachi vehicles and equipment to construction, demolition and civil engineering firms, has seen its sales slip from more than £84m to £82.6m last year and again to £79.8m in the 12 months to the end of this March. But unlike most in the industry it is growing its profit margin, this year to 14%.
This has helped its bottom line treble from £1m in 2010/11 and again last year to £5.3m.
Chairman John Jones believes the only way to combat the dramatic falls in infrastructure spending, house buying and large building projects is by cutting costs and working to keep customers loyal by focusing on service.
“The market is terrible at the moment. There’s no secret about that. And we are trying to grow sales and I’m cautiously optimistic about the next 12 months having seen the way we are performing in the last four months.
“But sales are vanity and profit is sanity and we are growing our profits every year and I expect to be able to say the same next year.
“We have just kept a tight control of our spending and we can do more. And although we are not necessarily the cheapest, we do give great customer service, after sales, and we work for them.
“But we realise that we are performing better than our rivals because of the quality of the products, and we are the only UK supplier, and because our staff are so passionate about what they do.
“We have given our people substantial salary increases because we value them. A lot of our staff have been here a very long time and they make a big contribution to the success of the business.”
The business, which supplied many of the vehicles used to build the Olympic Stadium, is even increasing the 105-strong workforce at its seven- acre base in Monkton Business Park in Hebburn, as well as its nine sales sites around the UK.
“Unlike a lot of firms, when it gets to a downturn we believe in investing as much and we have been taking on a few young people and apprentices which helps to improve their skills and we will taken on a few more this year,” he added.