DESIGN and engineering consultancy WYG reported strong trading in 2014 and said it expects pre-tax profits to be 10 per cent higher than current market expectations for the full year to March 31.
The Leeds-based group said the economic recovery in the UK is stimulating activity across many sectors and the outlook for consultancy is encouraging.
In addition, new opportunities are emerging in overseas markets. However, the delay in agreeing the next seven-year EU budget has had a knock-on effect on the pipeline for new work in Poland and Turkey.
It said work with Government departments such as the Ministry of Defence is growing and it is strongly positioned to secure new contracts across the Department for International Development’s Fragile and Conflict Affected States framework, with a particular focus on Africa.
WYG said it has been successful in re-tendering all four of the major UK frameworks that were re-let last year and it is confident it will secure further major frameworks in the near term.
The group said it has signed a new £15m trade finance facility with Santander and will use the cash to support activities in Central Europe and Turkey and to re-enter other markets.
Earlier this month WYG completed the acquisition of Delta Partnership Solutions. WYG described Delta as an established business with a small but experienced team of permanent consultants and a large network of associates dedicated to improving lives of people in poverty.
Paul Hamer, chief executive of WYG, said: “They have an excellent track record of working around the world on programmes to deliver better public services including for the governments of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, the bi-lateral aid agencies of Norway, Canada, Belgium, the UK and Sweden, as well as a broad range of non-government organisations and foundations.”
Delta is headquartered in the UK and has offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda.
Following its strong finish to the year, the group said it will start paying a dividend again this year.
“This has been another positive period for WYG,” said Mr Hamer. “Against the backdrop of an improving trading environment, we have won important new business, improved the scale and profile of our order books, and further strengthened our business through acquisition.”
Analyst Nick Spoliar, at WH Ireland, said: “WYG’s update reads very well indeed. Not only are numbers ahead, but the company has flagged an early return to the dividend list, a very positive development. We are clear that there is forecast upside ahead, given what WYG has achieved in 2014.”