Profits at Galway micro-tunnelling firm Ward and Burke hit 26m


Projects with Irish Water and an opportunistic push into the Finnish market helped Galway-based micro-tunnelling group Ward and Burke deliver revenue at €278m last year, up €6m from 2019.

The firm posted a pre-tax profit of €26m last year, compared to €18m in 2019, strengthening its balance sheet during the pandemic.

Ward and Burke is primarily engaged in the delivery of tunnelling services for water and wastewater projects.

Director Padraig Burke told the Irish Independent that the company has also recently secured its first contracts in California.

Of its turnover last year, €99.8m was generated in Ireland, €73m in Europe and €105.2m in the rest of the world. Its foray into Finland accounted for €17.3m of turnover, while North America accounted for €105m.

Mr Burke said he expects turnover to remain static this year and that the group is not targeting specific geographies for growth. However, he said expanding Ward and Burke’s activities outside Ireland during the financial crash, to Canada, had “saved our bacon”.

“We have benefited from our diversification since the crash in 2008,” he said. “One market might be suffering while another is developing. Opportunities present themselves across the geographies.”

He said that after undertaking its first project in Finland, the group has tendered for other work in the region.

Mr Burke said that the group’s work with Irish Water has been an important revenue stream.

Irish Water has secured record current and non-current funding of €1.3bn for 2021 to enable it to deliver projects across the country. Last year, it received an additional €87m in stimulus funding to undertake a slew of projects that were to be delivered by the end of 2020.

Ward and Burke has been working on a major Irish Water project at Blanchardstown in Dublin, and is also working on a large project in Cork. It employs more than 600 people.

Source – The Irish Independent