Construction group posts solid numbers in first results since takeover by Cathexis

ISG has announced plans to launch across the pond in its first set of results after being bought for £84m by US private equity firm Cathexis last February.

The contractor - which also operates in Asia, the Middle East and central Europe - said it intends to follow a number of its “international repeat clients” by launching in the US sometime in 2017.

ISG said it had already lined up a pipeline of schemes to work on in the country.

In results filed at Companies House for the ten months to December 2016, ISG posted pre-tax profit of £4.8m on revenue of £1.3bn.

Without £26.1m of exceptional costs - including £4.7m of restructuring costs and £800,000 of costs related to the takeover - ISG posted underlying pre-tax profit of £25.5m for the period.

ISG delisted from the AIM stock exchange shortly after its takeover by Cathexis last year. In its last available set of results as a listed firm, for the year to June 2015, it posted a pre-tax loss of £12.9m on £1.6bn revenue.

Paul Cossell, chief executive of ISG, said the firm was “well positioned for growth” after what he described as a “momentous year”.

At the end of 2016 the firm had a forward order book of £1bn and was looking to increase market share in the technology, science and health sectors.

ISG was also bullish about prospects for the fit-out market in London, in spite of Brexit. The firm said in its results: “Brexit has had very little real effect on ISG’s pipeline. In fact, the market looks set to continue to grow, with Apple’s choice to move to Battersea and Wells Fargo purchasing their London headquarters building almost immediately after the result.

“Equally the vast majority of the leading international banks, some of whom had initially suggested that they may consider re-locating workforces from London, maintained their planned schemes.”

During the period the firm completed the largest fit-out project of 2016 with interiors for Swiss banking giant UBS in the Broadgate complex in London.

ISG said it had taken steps to simplify its construction business, including restructuring it into three divisions - Southern, Western and Northern and Scotland - and largely closing its London luxury residential business.

The group’s engineering services division “performed well”, the firm said, boosted by further “hyper-scale data centre” wins in continental Europe.

However, ISG admitted it had had to weather “tougher” trading in Asia and “challenging” market conditions in the Middle East.