Posted on Friday 24 August 2018 by Ulster Business

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While there are always newcomers to the Ulster Business Top 100 list, construction firm Heron Bros managed to not just creep on to the bottom of it, but shoot well up, after adding almost £40m in turnover to its accounts in the space of a year.

It was six brothers who laid the foundations in Draperstown, Co Londonderry, in 1956.

Since then, the company has evolved significantly, and it has made a name for itself in creating a positive impact across the construction sector across Ireland and the UK.

And it’s working on some major schemes here in Northern Ireland, including three new leisure centres for Belfast (such as the former Robinson Centre pictured).

The latest results for the year 2016/17 marked 60 years in business. It employs more than 250 staff, and in its latest accounts posted pre-tax profits of £12.8m, and £95m turnover.

“We have strategically targeted the leisure sector in recent years due to increased public sector investment in sporting facilities,” managing director Damian Heron said.

“Our expertise in delivering sporting infrastructure throughout the UK and Ireland has gained national awards and press coverage.

“Our leisure portfolio boasts national sporting arenas, flagship stadia, modern leisure complexes, major spectator and corporate boxes.

“We are currently on site with three leisure centres in Belfast and one in Newtownards with the combined value of £90m.”

“Again, with the increasing public-sector investment in mental health provision we have benefited from constructing mental health and secure care facilities throughout the UK.

“We are delighted to be working with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust while delivering a £15m mental health hospital in Southport.”

Some of its other projects include Gallagher Shopping Park in Port Glasgow and a Porsche Centre in Belfast.

The company also takes its corporate social responsibility seriously, and Damian says that “operating as a responsible business creates a culture that inspires our people, develops our supply chain and instils confidence in our clients”.

Earlier this year, the firm also walked away with the gong for NI Responsible Company of the Year at Business in the Community’s 2018 Responsible Business Awards.

“Despite enjoying consecutive years of cumulative growth, our board has made the strategic decision to consolidate our growth and ensure our structures are in place to provide sustainable growth in the future,” Damian said.

“While the construction industry is showing signs of recovery from the economic downturn, it remains volatile. Challenges include the absence of a Stormont Executive, Brexit uncertainty and the skills shortage of construction professionals.”

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