Norfolk’s largest construction business saw its sales and profits fall in 2011 in what its chairman described as perhaps the most challenging year since the 2008 crisis.

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Drayton-based RG Carter’s newly-published group results saw turnover fall from £252.9m to £249.2m, while pre-tax profits fell from £9.1m to £5.1m last year.

Chairman Robert Carter, whose son James joined the board at the 2011 annual meeting, said the group had not been immune from the pressures of the financial crisis.

But it increased its balance sheet of net assets last year to £100.2m, compared to £96m in 2010.

The company announced this month that it had won contracts to develop custody facilities for Thames Valley Police in Milton Keynes and in January it carried out the high-profile demolition of the Campbells Tower in King’s Lynn.

Mr Carter said in the chairman’s statement: “The benefits that we have gained from the long-term investment in our business and our people is immeasurable.

“There is no question that those issues have been two of the major contributory factors in our ability to come through this difficult time. These, together with our strong financial position and the support of our long-standing client base, have given us a very positive view of the future of the group.”

Mr Carter said that the company had strategically invested in its future by starting two new businesses based in King’s Lynn called GM Piling and Ground Technology Services, which carries out site investigation and laboratory analysis.

He said: “In recognition of the environmental and commercial risks in the ground these have enabled us to widen the breadth of services that we can offer our clients.”

He said it had also opened new offices in Northampton, Lincoln and Kent, thus broadening RG Carter’s geographical network.

He said: “I am expecting economic conditions in 2012 to continue to be difficult.

“However, there are signs from our enquiry levels that opportunities may improve in the latter part of the year.”

annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

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