2018 in preview: Rick Smith, Director at Forbes Burton

Continuing our series – Business Link Magazine invites business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. Here, we catch up with Grimsby’s Rick Smith, Director at company rescue specialists Forbes Burton to see what he feels 2018 might hold for readers:

2018 has already got off to an interesting start. The news last week that construction giant Carillion was to be liquidated came as a shock to many, but perhaps not for those in the industry.

The Carillion aftermath will be felt through 2018 and several of the top six will no doubt win the contracts left in their wake. A new leader will surely emerge and we will have to see how both they and the Government deal with the issues around contracts. Price and cash flow will be the two areas that need attention.

Adding to this, tech will be a headline area of interest for the region during 2018. Rapid growth of AI (Artificial intelligence), will definitely mean an  interesting year in this sector but safety concerns will be an hindrance as well as a legitimate concern as the march of progress continues.

The green, or environmental sector will also have a landmark year. Developments in solar energy will position it to be a market leader by the end of 2018. Incentive payment schemes for the likes of solar have crashed before, so perhaps this year will see a more robust model emerge when it comes to renewables.

All it not rosy however. In terms of infrastructure the ratio of new homes to new roads is under strain. With the Carillion issue also dogging major road building, we can likely expect delays causing a loss to industry.

The world is also becoming smaller and better connected each year. Global growth will continue throughout 2018 which in turn will hopefully ease the UK Brexit transition. Several key decisions have yet to be made concerning trade, but the industry is ready to listen.