Operating profit at Scottish metal reprocessor, steel trading and environmental services company John Lawrie Group has remained relatively constant at £4.1m for the year ended 31 December 2013, despite a reduction in turnover from £107m to £89m.

Group financial director, Charlie Parker, said: “Results in 2013 reflect a year of consolidation for the group. Activity increased significantly in 2011 and 2012, so in 2013 we consciously looked at the most profitable areas and concentrated on those. We have considerably improved the working capital and net asset position of the group.”

The Aberdeen-based firm’s total shareholder equity for the year-end amounted to some £37.7m. During 2013, John Lawrie Group reduced its net borrowings by £6m, from £9.5m to £3.5m, resulting in a gearing ratio of less than 10%. These actions ensure the business is very strongly positioned for the future.

The biggest challenge, and opportunity, faced by John Lawrie Group continues to be the varying economic conditions in its different market places and how it deals with these. The majority of its scrap metal is still exported to European steel mills and the ongoing economic uncertainty in some of these markets means that prices can fluctuate considerably.

The firm has noted that the construction industry in the UK and Europe is recovering positively following five years in the doldrums. Similar encouraging growth signs have been observed in the US oilfield and construction marketplace by the group’s US subsidiary, John Lawrie Inc., which operates from a 25-acre facility in Houston.

Mr Parker added: “Closer to home, despite the possibility of a period of uncertainty in Scotland, we are well positioned to deal with matters and continue to service our local, national and international customers.”

“Our core business of metal recycling, in Aberdeen, Montrose and Evanton, near Inverness, allows us to provide our customers with an excellent support service for oil and gas decommissioning and other dismantling projects. We will continue to develop our core businesses at home and abroad, but we will always look for new investment opportunities.”