Consultant's profit flat but cash position still strong, and acquisitions are planned

Consultant Cyril Sweett has posted solid results for the year ended 31 March 2009, showing a 26% rise in turnover from £62.7m to £78.9m.

Pre-tax profit at the company, which floated on the AIM 18 months ago, was flat at £5.96m.

After one-off provisions that included staff restructuring costs and £1.8m of bad debt, profit was £2.2m. Some £200,000 of the debt relates to Dubai, with most of the rest connected to UK commercial jobs on hold.

Chief executive Dean Webster said: “The management team, which has experience of running businesses through previous recessions, remains confident that Cyril Sweett is well placed to gain market share during the current economic downturn and is well positioned to benefit when its markets improve, particularly since the business remains financially strong with net cash.”

Dean Webster
Webster: "Cyril Sweett is well placed to gain market share during the current economic downturn"

The group is paying a final dividend of 2.4p, which Webster said was a sign of confidence in the future. He also pointed to the fact the company ended the year with cash of £3.8m (compared with £6.7m in 2008).

Webster said it put the group in an “extremely strong” position and the company would look to make acquisitions - principally in Asia and Australia.

He described the UK public sector market as “extremely busy” and said sectors such as nuclear and waste management would provide future work.

The company is in exploratory talks in Iraq about work on £30bn-worth of projects to rebuild three Iraqi cities.

Webster said: “When the risks of operating there start to improve we'll look to register a business there.”