Global project management and technical consultancy WYG PLC (LON:WYG) saw its shares gain on Tuesday after the firm said a strengthening order book provides a sound basis for current year expectations and medium-term confidence.
In mid-morning trading, WYG shares were up 12.5% at 49.5p.
The company revealed in its results statement covering the year to the end of March that the Consultancy Services business is delivering improved results while International Development opportunities continue despite delays in Turkey.
Management said its underlying business is robust and it is expecting to return to an improved profitability trajectory in the medium term.
For the year just ended, revenue edged up 1.7% to £154.4mln from £151.8mln, with revenue in the second half of the financial year up 2.6% at £78.2mln from £76.2mln in the corresponding period 12 months earlier.
Adjusted operating profit fell to £3.5mln from £8.8mln, but was in line with market expectations, while second-half operating profit improved to £2.5mln from £1.0mln the previous year.
Adjusted profit before tax declined to £2.9mln from £8.2mln but, again, the second half performance saw an improvement, with adjusted profit before tax improving to £2.2mln from around £700,000.
Net debt at the end of March stood at £6.3mln, compared to £10.1mln six months earlier and £2.5mln at the end of March 2017.
Order book rises
The order book was up 14.7% at £166.4mln from £145.0mln at the end of March 2017.
The Consultancy Services order book was up 6.9% to £96.1mln (2017: £89.8mln) reflecting continuing growth in WYG's infrastructure and planning markets.
The International Development arm's order book was 27.5% higher at £70.3mln compared to £55.2mln 12 months earlier following project wins in the year.
"These results reflect an improved second half despite the continued delays experienced by our Turkish business. Having posted a disappointing set of results at the half year, the team has taken action to start to offset the issues we highlighted in August and November 2017, and there have since been several positive developments ensuring that we met the market's revised expectations of our profit and cash performance,” said Douglas McCormick, who took over as chief executive officer in June 2017.
"Many of the major projects in both of our principal business streams that were delayed in 2017 are now being delivered and our strong order book underpins a significant proportion of FY19's projected earnings. We have a clear strategy in place, a reshaped leadership team and a strong wider group with deep expertise in our chosen markets. There is plenty of opportunity to build on this robust platform and I believe we are taking the right steps to return to growth in profitability," he added.
Specialist local knowledge is the group's key advantage
WYG is an award-winning professional services firm operating from more than 50 locations across the UK, Europe, Africa and Asia.
It has six business streams: international development; infrastructure & built development; programme & project management; surveying & asset management; environmental and planning & transport.
Its main selling point to customers is the specialist local knowledge and networks it has that enable it to undertake ambitious projects that make a positive impact on infrastructure, socio-economic growth and the environment.
The group says that its expertise “matches opportunities within [the] international funding and geo-political landscape.