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Rok refocusing on buying up RMI firms

Rok is looking to buy up building and maintenance businesses as it looks to move firmly away from the commercial property market.

In an interim management statement for the first six months of the year the group confirmed the closure of its commercial property development activities after this part of the business suffered an operating loss of £2.7million for the period.

It is also facing £11.8mill in exceptional closure costs and impairment charges linked to the closure of these operations.

Garvis Snook, Rok chief executive, said the group was set to refocus on its traditional strengths within building, repairs and maintenance activities where it is enjoying record revenues and profits.

He said: “Having started to reduce our exposure to commercial property development at the beginning of 2007, we have now decided to cease any further involvement in this activity.

“The funds that will be realised as a result of this decision will be used to make further acquisitions to underpin our core building and maintenance businesses.”

Continuing operation showed revenues were up 37 per cent on the same period last year from £398.8mill to £546.7mill with pre-tax profits up 22 per cent from £10.2mill to £12.4mill.

The company also reported strong organic growth, said the maintenance business was continuing to grow strongly and it had secured framework deals worth £400mill – an increase of 10 per cent compared to last year.

Long term frameworks worth £2billion were up 25 per cent on last year. However, profit margins remained at 2.4 per cent.

Stephen Pettit, Rok chairman, said: “Rok’s strategy remains unchanged, but our business mix is evolving to focus on activities such as repairs, refurbishment and response maintenance which will produce higher margins in the economic environment in which we expect to be operating in over the next few years.”