WYG moves into the black as group gears up for expansion

Engineering consultancy WYG is gearing up for big growth and has plans to increase profits sevenfold over the next three years.

The Leeds-based company reported a pre-tax profit of £2.2m in the six months to September 30 following a £400,000 loss last time. It plans to produce a profit of £15m by 2018.

The return was despite delayed approval of the EU budget holding back international revenues. CEO Paul Hamer said the issue was the seven-year funding cycle.

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“The budget roll-out was delayed by 18 months,” he said.

“In this half we’re bidding for all these opportunities. That’s why the order book is up 20 per cent. You’ll see us winning some new business in the second half.

“Our European business is likely to double in size and our Turkish business could triple.”

The group reported a strong performance in the UK. Recent contract wins include the Co-op and the MoD. It won more than 100 new projects under UK framework agreements.

The order book increased to £130m by the end of November and WYG said it sees major opportunities arising from the Government’s spending reviews.

Internationally, the group said it is making good progress with activities in fragile and developing states, particularly in Africa.

It should benefit from the Chancellor’s confirmation that 50 per cent of the Department for International Development’s budget will be allocated to fragile states.

WYG has worked in places like Afghanistan, looking after the infrastructure while the army creates stability. The next step is to build up police forces and judicial systems. The third step is development, where WYG helps build the infrastructure, including transport, energy, water supply healthcare and education, that allows local economies to grow.

The group is eyeing up acquisitions and could spend up to £25m, having secured a new banking facility.

WYG announced that its respected finance director Sean Cummins is stepping down.

Mr Cummins said: “When I joined four years ago it was a hugely exciting opportunity. There is no doubt the group is now well funded, it has fantastic opportunities and very exciting prospects. I will now look for a new challenge.”

He will stay on for as long as is needed to ensure a smooth transition.