Engineering consultancy WYG said its UK business delivered a very strong first half performance, underpinned by economic growth and infrastructure spending, and it expects this to continue over the next six months.
The Leeds-based group said the UK order book, which only includes fully secured projects, rose 15 per cent over the past six months.
Chairman Mike McTighe told shareholders at the group’s AGM: “Not only is our order book increasing, it is also growing at a faster rate.
“This reflects an improving bid to win ratio on long term frameworks and the increasing flow of work from major public and private sector clients.
“The relatively short term nature of a large proportion of our UK order book means that work translates into revenue more quickly than in other regions, which gives us good near term visibility.”
The group said pre-tax full year profits are expected to be in line with recent market guidance.
The firm said the delay in the ramp up in the EU funding cycle has been well-documented.
“However, as the period has progressed a large proportion of our EU-related pipeline has converted into firm project wins, such that at the half year our international businesses have delivered an even greater increase in order intake than in the UK, up more than 20 per cent on the figure reported in March,” said Mr McTighe.
“A meaningful proportion of these wins represent multi-year projects that will drive performance as we go into the second half of the year and for several years beyond.”
The group said that as a consequence of the delayed ramp up in EU funding, both revenue and adjusted profits at the half year will be broadly unchanged from last year.
“However, with exceptionally high order coverage in place, we anticipate posting strong growth during the second half resulting in a full year outcome in line with our expectations,” said Mr McTighe.
“We continue to review a pipeline of acquisition opportunities and we expect some of these to progress, although the timing is hard to predict.“
Earlier this year the group put in place a new £25m five-year committed facility with HSBC.
“The flexibility that this facility has given will enable the group to pursue such acquisitions and support growth in its core activities,” said Mr McTighe.