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Construction and Infrastructure Firms Face Greatest Scrutiny

  • Eight of the 10* most searched companies in 2014 offer infrastructure or construction services
  • Tesco’s difficulties see it soar up the annual rankings of most searched firms on a leading credit checking platform

New analysis by Creditsafe reveals Travis Perkins, Britain’s biggest builders’ merchant, was the most searched for company in the UK in 2014. Travis Perkins was the most searched organisation by those completing credit reference and company checks in 2014, with 17% more searches than the second placed firm. Highlighting continued concerns over the volatility of specific UK industries, companies offering construction and infrastructure solutions occupy eight of the 10 places for most searched firms in 2014.

Travis Perkins Plc’s subsidiaries operate in typically cyclical market sectors vulnerable to ‘boom and bust’ economic trends. The organisation includes a number of high profile brands such as Wickes, Tile Giant and Keyline, which operate in markets hard hit during the recession when many DIY retailers and builders’ merchants saw rapidly declining revenues and profits. With increasing sales in 2014 Travis Perkins is aiming for sustained growth off the back of an improved economy, with the firm calling for a “long and slow recovery.” The company has benefitted in the last 12 months from increasing new build housing projects, rising mortgage transactions and increased confidence. However, there may be challenges in 2015 if the housing market cools significantly.

Farnrise Construction Limited, the most searched for company in 2013 occupies second place in the 2014 count down. Farnrise entered into administration in April of 2014 after a sustained period of cash flow problems. The business had a turnover of £50 million and worked throughout the South of England completing projects in the education, social housing and healthcare sectors. Farnrise’s collapse highlights the importance of regular credit checks on even established enterprises; Farnrise had been in operation for over 20 years.

Tesco’s difficult year in the face of challenging domestic sales has seen the company race to third in the rankings of most searched for companies in 2014. The company was rocked earlier this year by an accounting scandal when it announced it had overstated its profits for the first half of the year by £263 million. The company has also faced smaller scale accounting issues and has seen seven County Court Judgements (CCJs) awarded against it in 2014 totalling £16,045. Tesco will also face increasing competition in 2015, as 2014 proved a bumper year for new retail incorporations, in the last year the sector has grown by almost 10,000 businesses with over 146,000 retail operations now active.

Top 10 most searched for companies in 2014 and 2013 comparison

1. Travis Perkins Plc (Up five places)
2. Farnrise Construction Limited (Down one place)
3. Tesco Plc (Up four places)
4. Balfour Beatty Plc (New entry)
5. Grafton Merchanting GB Limited (New entry)
6. Mansell Construction (Down three places)
7. Edmondson Electrical Limited (Up one place)
8. Morgan Sindall Plc (Down three places)
9. Spicers Limited (New entry)
10. Wates Construction Limited (New entry)

Rachel Mainwaring Operations Director Creditsafe UK said: “Companies operating in construction and infrastructure are likely to come under particular scrutiny from credit and finance professionals due to the volatility of those industries, which are extremely sensitive to house price movements and large scale public sector investment. Tesco’s rise up the most searched companies emphasises the uncertainty that surrounded the firm and its financial performance in 2014.”

“The research highlights the importance of regularly checking the financial performance of both newly incorporated and seemingly well-established enterprises. Farnrise’s collapse into administration highlights that even firms with a 20 year history with millions of pounds of revenues remain vulnerable to cash flow pressures.”

Creditsafe Group

The Creditsafe Group is the world’s most used supplier of company business intelligence with 10 Creditsafe Group reports downloaded every second. Privately owned and independently minded Creditsafe is looking to change the way business information is used by providing high quality data in an easy to use format that allows everyone in an organisation can benefit from.

Launched in Norway in 1997, Creditsafe has offices in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and the USA employing over 800 people and has more than 80,000 customers, across the group.

*Creditsafe analysed its UK database of 4.5 million active companies and 10 million directors in December 2014 to establish the most searched for enterprises and individuals by its 30,000 UK customers during 2014. The Creditsafe database is utilised by companies to make informed credit decisions regarding the risk of another business entering insolvency and identify more information about the track record and history of organisations and company directors.

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