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Profits up at steel fabricator Walter Watson

STEEL fabricator Walter Watson in Castlewellan continued to grow its business in 2019 – and is still recruiting for a number of staff despite the difficulties brought about by the Covid pandemic.

The Castlewellan company, founded in 1967 by Walter Watson, 75, who is still involved in the day-to-day running of the business with his sons Derek and William, has reported sales of £54.2 million in the past calendar year.

That was down slightly on the previous year’s figure of £55.8m, but its retained profit rose by more than 10 per cent from £2.7m to £3.1m, due in the main to the company streamlining its costs structure and also through reduced payments on bank loans and overdrafts.

The directors described the trading performance as “robust”, given the increasingly competitive trading conditions in the steel market.

They said planned procurement and forward-buying of raw material had a “significant positive influence” in what was a competitive procurement marketplace.

“The traditional construction sector is beginning to show signs of steady and consistent growth from previous historic lows,” the directors said, adding that the company started 2020 with a strong order book and a number of positive prospects in the pipeline.

But as with all businesses reporting retrospective financial performances, the directors referred to the risks posed by Covid, saying they have implemented a detailed business continuity plan and are keeping the situation under daily review to ensure its future viability.

Based at Ballylough Road in Castlewellan it has satellite operations in Kildare and Ayrshire.

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