Consolidation in the consultancy sector is being held back by unrealistic valuations, White Young Green’s chief executive says.
Announcing the group’s results for the six months to 31 December 2007, Lawrie Haynes said its acquisitions would continue at the current rate but sellers needed to adjust to the new economic reality. He said: “Vendors must get used to the idea that values have fallen.”
WYG has spent £25m on three consultancies over the half-year, but Haynes said he would not rush to buy more until the market settled.
Pre-tax profit at WYG jumped a third over the period, from £6.9m to £9m, on the back of a 35% increase in turnover to £134m.
Peter Wood, its chairman, said: “The strategy of having a broad-based business with no disproportionate dependence on specific sectors means the group is well-positioned to meet the demands of its growing client base.”
Haynes said the company had noticed a slowdown in the housing market, particularly in Ireland, and that the London office fit-out market had seen a “very small drop”.
Its engineering division delivered the strongest turnover growth of 42% and accounted for 43% of turnover (2006: 41%).