WYG reports deeper losses but growing global opportunities

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ENGINEERING and design consultancy WYG reported six months of losses and slumping revenues but said it has a stable foundation for growth and a strong balance sheet.

The Leeds-based group said it continues to grow its international order book to combat “challenging” trading in the UK.

The company also announced the appointment of a new finance director, Sean Cummins, to replace David Wilton, who is leaving immediately.

Earlier this year WYG completed a capital restructure after entering the recession with a heavy debt burden, resulting in banks and shareholders seeing their stakes heavily eroded.

It said an 18 per cent fall in turnover to £68.5m during the six months to the end of September, plus deeper pre-tax losses of £5.2m, compared with £2.6m losses during the six months to the end of December, were in line with its expectations.

WYG ended the six months with net cash of £24m, compared with net debt of £38.5m at the end of 2010.

Chief executive Paul Hamer said: “WYG has taken a major step forward during the six month period and is positioned to build on the solid platform put in place through the successful refinancing completed in July.

“We have completed an operational reorganisation to refocus our resources on attractive sectors and geographies and can now concentrate on growth.

“Whilst trading conditions in the UK remain very challenging except in selected areas of activity, we welcome the Government’s commitment to additional infrastructure investment in its Autumn Statement which we expect to bring forward some potential opportunities for us.

“We continue to exploit a strong pipeline of international opportunities and believe that the long term growth prospects for the business, particularly overseas, remain attractive.”

International work now makes up 40 per cent of its turnover. Of its £145m order book, £87m is international work.

Mr Cummins is former finance director of design and engineering consultancy Scott Wilson and chemicals group Yule Catto.

Chairman Mike McTighe said: “He has extensive relevant public company experience and has deep knowledge of the global consultancy sector through his time at Scott Wilson.

Following the capital restructuring completed in July, WYG has entered a new growth phase in its development and Sean is ideally equipped to help lead WYG in the execution of its recently articulated international strategy.”

Mr McTighe also paid tribute to Mr Wilton for his role in ensuring the group’s survival.

“With his corporate finance background, he played a key role over a very challenging two and half year period that culminated in July’s capital restructuring.

“We now have a very sound platform from which to grow and, for that, David should take considerable credit.”