Listed architect reports “substantial growth” in Asia, with potential to expand in Middle East

SMC Group has signalled a return to steady trading by arranging more favourable funding agreements with its banks and issuing a bullish trading update.

The listed architect announced to the London Stock Exchange that it had negotiated a more favourable structure of repayments of term and overdraft facilities over the coming five years, allowing it to provide savings on interest payments.

SMC also reported “substantial growth” of its operations in Asia, said it had potential to expand in the Middle East and claimed it was delivering “robust trading” in the UK and overseas.

It was careful to acknowledge that it had “appropriate plans” to combat the prospect of an economic downturn, but did not go into what these were.

The improved fortunes have allowed Sir Rodney Walker to return to his role as non-executive chairman, having replaced Stewart McColl as executive chairman in February 2007. Managing director Chris Littlemore has now been appointed chief executive of the company.

Littlemore said: “Since February, the company has moved forwards establishing and delivering against a firm business plan. We are capitalising on the strengths of each individual element of the group to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. This is an exciting process and is one that I believe will bear fruit in the short, medium and long term.

Following an intense series of acquisitions in 2006, the SMC Group was forced to issue profit warnings to the City in January and June of 2007. Its share price dropped to a 52-week low of 6.62p in March of this year, but it has since improved to 8.5p.