Mitie cleans up pounds 1.4m in turnaround

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MITIE Group, the cleaning and building maintenance group founded by former senior executives at BET, said yesterday there were signs that the recession, which had eroded margins in the business services sector, could be at an end, writes Jason Nisse.

David Telling, chairman, said margins on many building maintenance contracts had fallen to about 3 per cent, compared with 8-10 per cent before the recession.

In the six months to 30 September the group made pre-tax profits of pounds 1.39m, up 47 per cent, on turnover of pounds 46.6m. Much of the improvement came from a turnaround in the loss-making South-east cleaning operation.

For the year to the end of March, the firm's stockbrokers, Panmure Gordon, are predicting profits of pounds 3.2m on turnover of pounds 100m.

The group, which has clients such as IBM, BT and British Aerospace, has been created by buying in a series of companies founded by the management team.

This process is now at an end and, although the company bought a Scottish cleaning company for pounds 2.9m in November, it is concentrating on organic growth.

Mr Telling said he thought much business could be won by selling building maintenance services, such as painting and engineering, to companies already taking Mitie's cleaning services.