One of Dundee’s oldest firms, steel stockholder Brown & Tawse, almost doubled its profits last year as the commodity price rose.
The West Pitkerro Industrial Estate company, which was established in 1881, specialises in a range of added value services including sawing, drilling, plasma and laser-cutting as well as shotblasting and painting.
Newly filed company accounts show revenues for the year ending March 31 rose by 6.3% to £18.8 million.
Pre-tax profits for the company, which employs more than 60 staff in Dundee, increased from £630,000 in 2018 to £1.2m last year.
Managing director Ian Harding, who led a management buy out with three senior managers in 1997, said the company had outperformed many of its peers in the sector.
He said: “It was a good year for us – the price of steel rose which meant our margins were good.
“However, prices fell and stabilised later in 2019. There’s probably an oversupply of steel in the world at present.
“We are doing everything right and continuing to invest in plant and machinery. This year we have invested in six new artic lorries which are more environmentally friendly.”
Stock balances increased by 21% mainly due to a planned increase in preparation for the anticipated Brexit date at the end of March 2019.
Mr Harding said there was now more certainty around Brexit which he thought would increase the number of infrastructure projects.
“It’s not that projects have dried up in terms of being viable but people weren’t willing to push the button in all cases,” he said.
“Now we have some certainty things should progress and I see a very positive outlook for the Scottish economy in particular.
“A lot of steel goes into big projects and the bigger the project, the more people with money push the button they need to be absolutely certain it’s going to turn out well.”
Mr Harding said that over the past five years the company had utilised the Port of Dundee for its steel imports from Germany and Spain which had saved around 1,400 lorry loads on UK roads.
The company also operates from Aberdeen and Leeds and owns several subsidiaries that cater for the market in the north of England.
Brown & Tawse was formed in 1881 at Exchange Street in Dundee. It moved to its current purpose-built premises in 1999.