As it reports revenues up 14%, consultancy group names successor to Paul Hamer

WYG has announced a 14% hike in annual turnover and a 22% increase in operating profits, as it bids farewell to chief executive Paul Hamer, who is set to join Sir Robert McAlpine at the end of July.

The consultancy announced today that Douglas McCormick (pictured), recently the chief executive of Sweett Group, would take over from Hamer on 12 June.

On the results front, WYG said turnover, including joint venture activities, rose to £107.6m in the year to 31 March 2017, while adjusted operating profits were up 22% to £8.8m. Pre-tax profits fell from £2.2m to £1.6m, with adjusted profits before tax up 17% to £8.2m.

Operating margins grew to 5.8% from 5.4%, while the group said its order book was slightly higher, up 1.4% at £145m. Within that figure the UK order book was up 4%, reflecting what WYG called the “continuing strength of infrastructure and planning markets”.

Operating cash flow rose from £2.4m last year to £8.4m, boosted by what finance chief Iain Clarkson told Building was a “sprint to the finish” towards the end of the financial year.

UK operations, which represent nearly three quarters of the group’s activities, saw a 12% rise in revenues to £107.6m, with the general election said to have “temporarily delayed” the awarding of some projects.

Overseas, WYG reported an 80% increase in revenues at its Middle East & North Africa including Turkey business to £23.8m, boosted by EU-funded projects, while a 15% reduction in revenues in Europe, Africa & Asia reflected the results in its Polish operation, which were partially offset by growth in Africa and rest of the world.

Speaking about the figures, Hamer said the business had not quite met the expectations it had set itself at the beginning of the year, although it had started the new financial year well, despite the distraction of this week’s general election.

“The opportunities we are seeing in our core consultancy services and international development markets, combined with our initiatives to drive efficiency and resilience across the group, leave us in a strong position from which to deliver good growth in the current year,” he added.

On the issue of Brexit, WYG said that to date it had “no material impact” on its financial performance as a result of the vote to leave the EU.

“In the run-up to the EU referendum we undertook a review of the potential impact that a vote to leave the EU would have on the business and we have taken steps to ensure that our model remains appropriate and resilient.

“Nevertheless, we continue to keep the issue under very close scrutiny,” it added.