- Ground engineering contractor Van Elle said it expected to post a 22% drop in first-half revenue after lockdowns triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic bit hard in the first quarter.

Revenue for the six months through October was seen falling to around £38 million, down from £48.5 million year-on-year.

Van Elle said trading during the first quarter was heavily disrupted by Covid-19, following a low point in April in which 80% of revenues were lost.

'Activity levels steadily recovered during the period, slightly ahead of management's planning assumptions,' it said.

'Revenues in September and October reached pre-Covid levels, enabling the group to trade profitably, albeit the rate of recovery in demand has not been uniform across end market segments.'

Specialist piling has shown the strongest recovery, whilst activity in the rail division remained subdued.

Housing and general piling had also recovered steadily, although the latter continued to experience some market volatility.

'Encouragingly, the current lockdown restrictions have enabled the group and its customers to maintain operations in most instances,' Van Elle said.

'Consequently it is expected that, subject to normal seasonal patterns, the steady recovery trends in the infrastructure and housebuilding markets, described above, will continue into the second half.'

'Increased uncertainty has impacted customer decision making in the commercial and general construction markets in November and so the board is cautiously expecting activity in general piling to be subdued during the third quarter, with a sustained recovery as the post-Covid backdrop stabilises.'

Story provided by