2018 News


Half year trading update.

December 2018

Van Elle, the leading geotechnical engineering company offering a wide range of specialist foundation solutions and techniques to customers in a variety of UK construction end markets, is issuing the following trading update ahead of announcing its interim results for the six months ended 31 October 2018 on 16 January 2018.

As reported at the time of the full year results, on 25 July 2018, the first quarter of the current year was relatively quiet as a result of subdued UK market conditions following a challenging period for the UK construction markets in early 2018. As anticipated, market conditions have been more supportive in the second quarter and new contract starts have progressively gained momentum. Consequently, the Board expects to report turnover of approximately £43.0m for the period, against a strong comparative period in the prior year (H1 2017: £52.6m). Expected underlying PBT of £2.8m (H1 2017: £5.4m) for the first half reflects the subdued activity levels in the first quarter but pleasingly gross margins have continued to improve over the period.

This year is an important one of transition for the Group, with our new Chief Executive, Mark Cutler, having joined the Board in August. Mark has focussed on refining the Group's strategic client relationships, strengthening the leadership team and streamlining the operational structure to establish a stronger platform from which to pursue our growth strategy. In addition to enhancing the Group's effectiveness, the operational restructuring to date is expected to generate annualised cost savings of approximately £0.6m. A provision of £0.3m has been included at the half year for exceptional restructuring costs relating to this.

Net debt has reduced in the period (standing at £5.6m at 31 October 2018 compared to £5.9m at year end 2017) and is expected to reduce further over the second half.

The quiet first quarter, together with the relatively weak second half of the prior year, means that the Group's results are likely to have a greater second half weighting in the current year. The positive momentum exiting the first half has continued into the start of the third quarter and the Group's orderbook at 31 October 2018 was 16% ahead of last year at £32m (H1 2017: £27.6m), including strong demand for our specialist services over the Christmas period. The Board continues to monitor market conditions closely and whilst mindful of the strong second half performance required, expects the company to deliver a full year performance similar to that of last year.

Mark Cutler, Chief Executive, commented:

"Since joining the business in August I have been taking action to refine the Group's commercial approach, streamline operations, strengthen the leadership team and re-focus on our key customers. This is already creating a strong platform from which to pursue our growth strategy. It is pleasing to see momentum building into the third quarter with growing demand for our specialist services and a strong orderbook providing good forward visibility. The Group is well placed to benefit from the significant opportunities we see in the second half and beyond."

Supervisor Award

Van Elle Strengthens Leadership Team and Streamlines Divisional Structure.

November 2018

Van Elle, the UK’s largest independent ground engineering contractor has announced several changes to its leadership team.

These are the first key changes in personnel announced under new Chief Executive Mark Cutler who joined in August.

John Foster joins as Commercial Director from Saint Gobain’s glass and facade installations business. John will be responsible for all commercial activity in the Group as well as business development, estimating and procurement.

Peter Handley returns to Van Elle in the newly created role of Strategy and Business Improvement Director from Cementation. Peter has significant sector experience as a former divisional director in Van Elle prior to joining Cementation where he held various cross-company responsibilities. Peter will lead Van Elle’s strategic development, business improvement and innovation programmes.

John and Peter both commence in early January.

In Van Elle’s largest business unit, the General Piling division, director Steve Johnson leaves the Group at the end of November. He is replaced by Group Construction Director David Warner on an interim basis. This follows the appointment of former Eastern Director Steve Bursnell as Contracts Director last month.

Since joining, Cutler has streamlined the operational structure of the £100m turnover AIM listed Group to five divisions, with the new structure now comprising:

  • General Piling – open site driven, CFA and rotary piling
  • Specialist Piling – restricted access, low headroom and ground & slope stabilisation
  • Housing – residential piling and modular foundation solutions
  • Rail – foundation and trackbed solutions in the rail environment
  • Geotechnical Services (trading as STRATA) – geotechnical investigations and testing

Commenting on the changes, Chief Executive Mark Cutler says “I am very pleased to welcome John Foster and Peter Handley to Van Elle at this important stage of our growth and wish to thank Steve Johnson for his contribution. The company has been through a lot of change over the last couple of years but the new strengthened leadership team and streamlined divisional structure allows us to accelerate our improvement, more clearly focus on our customer’s needs and better integrate our specialist capabilities across all the sectors we operate in”.

Supervisor Award

Jeremy Corbyn & Gloria De Piero officially open Van Elle’s new Training Centre in Kirkby-in-Ashfield

October 2018

In recognition of Van Elle’s investment in the training, development and upskilling of its workforce over the past year, Jeremy Corbyn visited Van Elle’s office in Kirkby last week, accompanied by MP for Ashfield, Gloria De Piero, to officially open it’s new state-of-the-art training centre.

Both took time to speak with some of Van Elle’s workers and apprentices and listened to their opinions on the learning experiences and the opportunities the training centre offers.

Gloria De Piero said “It was great to visit the wonderful Van Elle in Kirkby with Jeremy Corbyn. The workers and apprentices all spoke frankly about the issues affecting their lives, which was really important for us to hear. Listening to the good experiences that Van Elle's apprentices are having was really interesting and uplifting and Jeremy and I took a lot of useful information away with us from that conversation. Thank you to everyone at Van Elle for making us so welcome.”

“As well as self-delivering an even larger proportion of our internal training requirements, we are now able to offer training and assessment services externally to Clients and other industry professionals” says Senior Group Director, Mick Mason. “The training centre is a £1m investment to the company and showcases our commitment to making sure that the training needs of the Van Elle and Construction Industry’s workforce are met”.

Supervisor Award

A new era has begun at Van Elle Limited with the appointment of new CEO, Mark Cutler.

August 2018

Mark has joined Van Elle in mid August from Balfour Beatty where he was responsible for High Speed 2 as the managing director of the Balfour Beatty VINCI joint venture business.

Mark has over 25 years experience in the construction industry, working in several senior roles in Carillion, Morgan Est, Barhale and Balfour Beatty.

Mark Cutler, Van Elle CEO says: I am thrilled to be joining Van Elle at a key stage in its continued development. We have just announced record results for 2017/18 which consolidate our position as the UK’s largest ground engineering contractor and there is huge potential to accelerate our growth in the years to come.

Supervisor Award

Kier acknowledge Van Elle Supervisor, Joe Page, for his leadership and pro-active approach to Health & Safety...

June 2018

"Joe is an extremely pro-active and professional Supervisor and his approach to our Health & Safety Standards has been outstanding."

Kier, Chertsey High School Site Manager.

CN Awards Logo

The 2018 CN Awards presents Van Elle with its 4th opportunity of the year to pick up the industry's most recognised awards...

March 2018

As the biggest awards within the industry, it is a great achievement for a specialist contractor, such as Van elle, to be selected as a finalist and yet this is exactly what has happened in not one but two highly contested categories; 'Health, Safety and Wellbeing Excellence' & Best Innovation.

Vemech 7 Rig

Van Elle launches its latest incarnation of the housebuilders' favourite, Vemech rig...

March 2018

The housebuilding market is booming and in order to meet the ever-increasing demand and continue to offer clients the most efficient, cost-effective and sustainable solutions on the market, Van Elle has recently launched its latest version of the bepoke, reduced weight, precast piling rig... Vemech7.

Leeds Beckett University

The Soilmec SR-95 proves its power at Leeds Beckett University...

March 2018

One of the company's largest rotary bored piling rigs was recently put through its paces at Leeds Beckett University whilst installing the rotary piles for the new multi storey car park scheme. The Soilec SR-95 didn't put a foot wrong and took it all in its stride. #Power #Investment

NCE100 Award Logo

Van Elle ranked in the 2018 NCE100 and shortlisted for a prestigious award...

February 2018

We are pleased to announce that Van Elle is, not only, to be included in the NCE100 (ranking the World's top civil engineering businesses) for the 3rd consecutive year in 2018, but we have also been shortlisted in the 'Construction Innovator' category for Technical Excellence.

M42 GI Drilling

Van Elle completes the rotary coring on the M42 for part of the HS2 scheme...

February 2018

Van Elle's specialist geotechnical division, Strata Geotechnics, has just completed dynamic sampling with rotary coring on the M42 using the Comacchio MC205. This is one of the first HS2 infrastructure contracts in preparation for the new route's build.

NHBC Stand

Van Elle partners the NHBC at the 2018 series of 'Building for Tomorrow' seminars...

February 2018

As the UK's largest ground engineering specialist with a focus on housebuilding and supporting our clients within this sector, Van Elle is pleased to confirm our attendance at 4 of the upcoming NHBS events, South West, North East, East & West.

GE Award Logo

Van Elle Shortlisted for the 2018 Ground Engineering Awards...

January 2018

Following recent success in being shortlisted for the CN Specialists Awards, Van Elle has now been named as a finalist in both the 'Award for Technical Innovation' and the 'UK Project with a Geotechnical Value of between £3M and £15M' categories.

London Office

Van Elle's growth and ability to react quickly to client's needs continues as we launch our London Office in Euston...

January 2018

Although Van Elle has undertaken many of the capital's largest and most prestigious ground engineering projects in recent years, the launch of our own central London office demonstrates our success, ambition and ability to undertake all geotechnical projects within the city.

Epilepsy & Mind

Van Elle supports Mind, the Mental Health charity and Epilepsy Action in 2018...

January 2018

Owing to a very successful year of fundraising in 2017, we have chosen to support 2 charities close to our hearts in 2018. Our current focus on raising awareness of mental health issues and the increase of epilepsy within society and our own Van Elle family has led us to want to help.

NSPCC Childline

Van Elle raises more than £22k for the NSPCC's Childline in its 30th anniversary year...

January 2018

Following a year of fundraising, a voluntary employee salary sacrifice and Childline awareness raising, we are very proud to announce that we have raised more than £22k for this very worthwhile charity. We hope that this contribution will help to support many vulnerable young people across the UK.

Carillion Logo

It's business as normal for Van Elle following the industry's recent news regarding Carillion...

January 2018

The Carillion liquidation, whilst hugely disappointing to us, has not impaired our ability to trade in any way. We have a very strong balance sheet and robust working capital management processes in place. We continue to be very busy delivering complex geotechnical engineering services...


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