MERSON, the East Kilbride-based signage and facade makers, has reported a rise in underlying earnings despite difficult trading conditions partly caused by Brexit-related issues.

The firm, which employs 300, said its EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) rose to £1 million in 2018 against £734,000 the previous year.

Turnover was level year on year at £31.9m, and improvements were made to gross margin at 31.1 per cent, up from 30.8% in 2017, which it said was mainly achieved through productivity gains.

East Kilbride Connect:

Roddy Angus, Merson chief executive, said that “the board is pleased that, despite a difficult market, sales, margins and EBITDA all improved in 2018.

“Nothing radical, just steady progress towards higher management targets.”

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Mr Angus the group saw solid performance in the road, rail and airport environments.

However, he added: “In signage, we are witnessing probably the biggest shake-up in the retail, automotive and banking sectors that we have experienced this century.

“But, through working closely with key clients on our place branding offer, we are assisting in the repositioning of a number of major brands as they adapt to the impact of online transactions.

East Kilbride Connect:

“Away from the high street, we are delighted with the end result at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium. Of particular note was the work our team recently completed to assist in the preparations for the landmark opening game.”

He said: “In building products, the market has been mixed with strong evidence of projects being held back by Brexit. Despite this we grew our cladding sales through partnering with a tight group of envelope contractors who we work with under our strategic partners banner.”

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Mr Angus added that “by adopting ‘agile’ practices and new systems staff are driving the performance of the business and are determined to deliver exemplary results for clients”.

The firm will “extend existing markets and add complimentary products and services”.

“Brexit is once again disrupting our markets but ... the board is determined to drive the business forward regardless.”