14 August 2017

Half-Year results announced today show WSP Opus International Consultants’ performance continues to improve.

Net profit after tax (adjusted) was $6.2m, up from $0.9m in the first half of 2016 and operating EBIT was $11.4m, up from $2.5m in the comparable prior period. Group revenue was $226.8m, down 4.2 percent on the first half-year of 2016 but flat on a constant currency basis. Cash flow from operations, at $18.2m, was the highest half-year result since WSP Opus became a listed company.

Chairman Keith Watson said the continuing improvement reflected intensive work on the new strategy as well as flow-on effects from increased global infrastructure spending.

Mr Watson, who officially became Chair on 1 August, acknowledged the significant contribution of the previous Chair, Kerry McDonald, in leading the Board and developing the new strategy which focuses on three global market sectors: transportation, water and buildings.

“The strategy is driving WSP Opus’ improved financial performance during a period of difficult operating conditions. In a competitive global market, focusing on the three market sectors has enabled us to leverage our expertise for clients no matter where they are. We have become more agile and effective, more focused on human-centred design and innovation, and we are developing stronger alliances,” Mr Watson said.

WSP Opus CEO, Dr David Prentice, said the New Zealand business continues to be very strong, delivering $140.6m in revenue and an operating EBIT of $18.5m, led by a buoyant transport sector. Important changes have been made to the business, with the experienced financial services leader, Ian Blair, being recruited as Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand.

“Our pipeline for 2017 and beyond includes a collaboration with a consortium of companies to deliver the set-up phase of the Northern Corridor Improvements Project in Auckland for the NZ Transport Agency; and continued work to support the Kaikoura community to restore its transport links, especially along State Highway 1. In addition, WSP Opus is now on three major water panels in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington, a move that will benefit New Zealand communities and help the local councils move their water infrastructure into the future,” said Dr Prentice.

WSP Opus’ North America business reported $33.6m in revenue and, while there was an operating EBIT loss of $0.6m, this was a $5.9m improvement, reflecting management actions to improve operating efficiencies and align focus on driving growth in WSP Opus’ three global market sectors. Bidding activities have resulted in a record future work pipeline for the water sector in North America.

The UK business, which encountered Brexit-related headwinds, generated $27.3m in revenue and an operating EBIT loss of $0.1m. Conditions in Australia continue to be trying and the business recorded revenue of $21.0m and an operating EBIT loss of $2.2m.

“Importantly, the outlook for the global infrastructure market remains strong with governments in New Zealand, Australia, UK and North America allocating additional expenditure to infrastructure,” Dr Prentice said.

WSP Opus’ cash position supports a fully imputed interim dividend, however, in view of the latest announcement of a takeover offer, the Directors have deferred declaring an interim dividend. This will enable them to take advice on the offer and the appropriate level of interim dividend to be declared.