Mears to cut jobs after half-year losses

Housing services and construction firm Mears has warned over job cuts amid an overhaul as it expects to slide to a first-half loss.

The firm is set to consult with up to 10% of its 5,000-strong workforce, with fewer than 200 jobs expected to go.

Chief executive David Miles told the PA news agency that the bulk of the losses will affect the company’s new homes development businesses and housing management arm.

But its 3,500 social care workers will remain unaffected, with the firm recruiting in that sector.

Mears said the cuts would come as part of a restructuring of the business over the second half of 2020 as it warned that Covid-19 will “inevitably have a lasting impact on the company”.

It has mothballed residential new homes construction work amid the lockdown, though its work on new social homes has remained unaffected.

Mr Miles added: “Whilst it has been essential for the group to maintain a sharp focus on short-term operational and financial management, it is pleasing that the group has also taken positive and considered actions during this period to drive improvements.”

Mears said it is set to swing to an underlying pre-tax loss of around £6 million for the six months to June 30 from profits of £16.7 million a year earlier after seeing revenues slide 7.7%.

It saw revenues tumble 23% to £250 million in its maintenance arm, though it said this was partly offset by new asylum accommodation and support contracts.

Mears said the rest of the year will be “particularly important” for contract renewals, with around a third of the group’s maintenance business coming up to be re-bid.

But it warned that new order intake is likely to be low this year.

Shares fell 4%.

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