The Leeds-based group said that despite some initial project delays, reflecting uncertainty immediately around the time of the EU referendum, it is seeing positive signs in almost all of its core services.
WYG’s CEO Paul Hamer said: “UK Government and infrastructure spending, which are the main drivers of WYG’s front-end planning and consultancy business, have remained resilient and we are very encouraged by the proposals contained in the Autumn Statement.”
WYG said the Autumn Statement contained welcome announcements on proposed Government spending through the creation of the £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund. The majority of the fund will be targeted at housing and transport to accelerate new housing supply and ensure the UK’s transport networks are fit for the future.
“Not only are both these sectors firmly aligned with WYG’s core areas of competence in planning and transport planning, they feed our other disciplines including environment, and urban & landscape design,” said WYG’s chairman Mike McTighe.
Mr Hamer added: “The funding will be dispersed on a regional basis for the first time. That ties in with the Northern Powerhouse. That creates advantages for us as we are strong regionally and nationally, but the opportunity for us is regional.
“We are very pleased that post (George) Osborne there is a commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.”
The management team were speaking as the group announced robust half year results.
Revenue rose 17 per cent to £73.5m in the six months to September 30 and pre-tax profits jumped 18 per cent to £2.6m. The order book rose 33 per cent to £164m and the group raised its interim dividend by 20 per cent to 0.6p.
The group has won a number of major projects including overseeing the roll-out of one of the UK’s largest portfolios of new, privately rented homes. This ties in with the Northern Powerhouse agenda and run from Manchester through to Yorkshire and the Humber.
The group said that in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, two projects were suspended but have since restarted.
“There has been no Brexit impact on our UK or our international business,” said Mr Hamer.
“Our operation is Brexit proof. We are not resting on our laurels, but we think our business model is resilient.”
Whilst the EU is WYG’s single largest client, in the form of EuropeAid (the organisation responsible for projects outside the EU), the firm believes Brexit will have little impact on the group.
WYG’s CEO Paul Hamer said all the group’s overseas operations act like local businesses and this will protect the firm from any Brexit fall-out.
“Our Polish business wins all its business as a Polish company, WYG Polska,” he said.
WYG has created local businesses and legal entities in its key markets.
Analysts welcomed the group’s results.
Nick Spoliar at WH Ireland said: “WYG has announced an excellent set of first half results, with profits up 20 per cent or more year on year, the £164m order book again at record levels and further good wins on the contract front, including a meaningful award from the RAF on a key infrastructure installation and master-planning roles getting underway on a number of model towns and garden villages.”
WYG has been appointed programme manager on the RAF Lossiemouth Development Programme.
“UK growth reflects an effective and flexible model,” said Mr Spoliar.