The West

Jim Giumelli.

Newly crowned EY regional Entrepreneur of the Year Jim Giumelli's Ertech Holdings is tipping a "reasonable" year on a full order book after rounding off 2012-13 on a confident note.

The staff-owned construction contractor recorded a 7.2 per cent increase in gross profit to $60.8 million last financial year, despite sales slipping 5.6 per cent to $351.2 million "on changes in market demand and competition".

Net earnings, however, were off 10 per cent at $12.3 million, half of which were returned to Ertech's shareholders in dividends.

Mr Giumelli, who founded the group more than 30 years ago, yesterday declared himself satisfied with the results.

"They could have been a little better, but we were reasonably happy with them in view of how tight the market was in the first part of the financial year," the executive chairman said.

"Looking forward, we are quite confident we will have quite a reasonable year.

"We've got a fairly full order book, mainly in WA, in oil and gas, and mining."

Ertech straddles four civil contracting businesses and has made WA's oil and gas sector a particular focus after winning a breakthrough contract with Chevron on the Gorgon liquefied natural gas project in 2009.

It has since won a joint venture contract with the Wheatstone LNG project and is pitching for more as part of its strategy to maintain earnings and sector diversity.

In recent years, Ertech has added capabilities in building complex concrete structures with the acquisition of FormAction and expanded into asset protection with the establishment of Duratec Australia.

The pipeline of work includes five contracts at Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill iron ore project, including marine works at Port Hedland harbour, a pipeline for the Water Corporation in the Pilbara centre, pre-consolidation work at the proposed Perth stadium and a Main Roads WA contract at Bindi Bindi in the Wheatbelt.

As with its work on Gorgon, Ertech is hoping the Wheatstone and Roy Hill contracts will evolve into more over time.

"We have an aim of getting in early on a project and letting our work speak for itself and then winning increased scope from that," Mr Giumelli said.

The West Australian

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