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Rydon's profit rise in year after Britain's deadly Grenfell fire

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By Tom Bergin

LONDON (Reuters) – Rydon Group, the company responsible for the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower in London where at least 71 people died in a fire in June 2017, said its profits rose last year, in spite of an 11 percent fall in revenues.

Rydon, a privately owned building company based in southern England, also said it had decided against making any financial provision for potential costs it may face in relation to the disaster.

In the year to the end of last September, Rydon Group Holdings Ltd.‘s pre-tax profit rose to 20 million pounds from 19 million pounds in the previous 12 months according to accounts, published on Thursday via the UK’s corporate registry. It generated revenue of 219 million pounds in its latest year.

Rydon was the main contractor responsible for a 2014-2016 refurbishment that saw the high-rise Grenfell Tower’s exterior fitted with flammable cladding panels of a type that government ministers have said did not comply with regulations.

The company said at the time that it had complied with all regulations and declined to comment on the issue on Thursday.

“Rydon’s performance reflects the benefits of a diversified business mix, which has continued to deliver sustainable growth despite wider market and economic uncertainties,” spokeswoman Rowan Baker said in an emailed statement.

In its accounts, Rydon said it had not made provision regarding Grenfell, “given the limited nature of the work commissioned, the approvals received in relation to it and the interrelationship with work undertaken by other parties.”

Lawyers for the victims’ families said previously that they may take legal action against the local government body which owned Grenfell Tower and the companies involved in the application of the external insulation system there.

Some analysts had predicted that the companies connected to the disaster could face big damages bills in relations to the deaths. But a Reuters analysis in 2017 found that restrictive UK laws on corporate liability for injuries means the actual payouts in respect of the dead could be under $5 million.

(Reporting by Tom Bergin; Editing by Keith Weir)

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