In a trading statement the company confirmed that it expects to make a small underlying loss in the second half of the year but that net debt by year end would be less than previously though, at £500,000 rather than £1.2 million.
Its update to shareholders added: “The Group has previously stated that the economic downturn would impact trading especially in the UK and that trading conditions in the UK market would remain challenging due to the continued weakness in the underlying construction market. In accepting these challenges the Group viewed the current year as one of strategic investments to reposition the business for FY 2011 and beyond. The Directors are pleased to report that this repositioning is now substantially in place.”
Outlining progress with the expansion strategy, the statement continued: “The Group has now established a company in Africa with an office in South Africa and opened a fourth office in the Middle East in Qatar. A Managing Director and a small team have been recruited with responsibilities to provide a new service stream across the Group - Strategic Project Management and a new Managing Director has been appointed to lead the Project Services business (previously CMC) in to the industrial and power sectors initially in the UK.
“The Group has traded in Africa on 4 significant projects providing services to substantial international organisations for both traditional dispute resolution and strategic project management services. In addition, the African business starts the new financial year with a strong pipeline of outstanding proposals and expressions of interest on major construction and infrastructure projects. A number of smaller assignments have been undertaken in Qatar and in the power and process sector in the UK two new major clients have been secured.
“Whilst the UK construction market remains more challenging than we had hoped, the Directors can report that the Group has been appointed a member of the Commercial Consultants Panel for Carillion plc and is in final negotiations for a further similar appointment with another significant UK organisation.
“In the Middle East Driver has recently been appointed by Muscat Municipality in Oman as Cost Consultant on the Al Athaibah Interchange Improvements Project, a £22m highway scheme planned to run until May 2012. This is one of 10 long term appointments secured in Oman. The International business also has a strong pipeline of secured work, with levels for the year to 2011 already similar to those achieved in the current year.”