Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

House-Builders Consider Options Following Brexit

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

House-Builders Consider Options Following Brexit

Article excerpt

Byline: Coreena Ford Business writer @Scoopford

THE chief executive of housebuilder Barratt Developments says the firm could move production of construction blocks from Germany to the UK as it is the latest firm to consider contingency plans because of Brexit.

At present around 90% of the company's materials are made by UK suppliers but large format blocks currently come from overseas.

The blocks have been used in trials to explore new technologies and new ways to build homes to improve efficiency and to boost the volume of housebuilding.

But David Thomas, chief executive of the Newcastle-founded firm - now the UK's largest housebuilder - is reported to have said: "We're currently having a discussion with the supplier about whether production can come from the UK rather than directly from Germany."

The move would mark the latest contingency plan hatched by a UK firm looking to mitigate risks presented by Brexit, while the UK awaits an agreement which will hopefully be made to protect the free movement of goods between Britain and the EU until 2020.

A raft of North East firms have said they are developing contingency plans behind the scenes, including South Tyneside's wax jacket maker Barbour, which recognises the European Economic Area as a significant market for its Barbour and Barbour International ranges.

Online gaming firm Tombola, which is headquartered in Sunderland and also employs people in Spain and Italy, has also said it is reviewing options to ensure trade in Europe isn't affected, while Newcastle-based insurance group North is opening a base in Ireland to ensure continued access to EU markets.

Mr Thomas's comments come as the firm posts a strong set of results for the six months ended December 31 2017, with revenues rising 9.5% to PS1.988bn.

The firm said its strong operational and financial performance has been driven by good customer demand, resulting in good growth in pre-tax profit which was up 6.8% to PS342.7m.

Net private reservations were also up 6.5% and Barratt's forward order book has risen 2% to PS3. …

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