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International expansion boosts rebranded Sweett Group

4 Jul 11 In its last annual results under its current name, quantity surveyor Cyril Sweett Group has reported solid growth, aided by a better than expected performance from Widnell Sweet in Asia Pacific.

The company has also announced that it is changing its name from Cyril Sweett to simply Sweett.  The brand consolidation starts in the Australian offices and will roll out throughout the group over the next 12 months.

For the year ended 31 March 2011, group revenue was up 11% to £72.8m, from £65.6m in the previous year.

Pre-tax profit was up 4% to £2.3m, after the impact of a £1m exceptional administrative expenses and £400,000 amortisation of acquired intangible assets. Previous year’s pre-tax profit figure of £2.1m included £700,000 exceptional administrative expenses and £200,000 amortisation.

Chief executive Dean Webster said: "Since the global financial crisis we have continued with our strategy of sector and geographical diversification which has created a robust business, the benefits of which can be seen in these full year results. 

"The market is expected to continue to remain variable in outlook; Europe will continue to be challenging; in Middle East, Africa and India, we see a shifting market focus and have reduced our overall levels of activity to manage what we see as further downside risk in the short term; in Asia Pacific, we continue to be encouraged by our expanding order book, particularly so in mainland China; and in the Americas, we see an opportunity to develop the new links we have formed with our US partners, by building a capability for the longer term.

"We enter the new financial year with an order book of £84m, up from £58m a year earlier."

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The acquisition of Widnell in July 2010, creating the third largest quantity surveying business in the Asia Pacific region, played a large part in driving the growth in the international business, Mr Webster said.

Revenue from Asia Pacific accounted for 24.2% of group revenues at £17.6m (2010: £5.5m). Segment profits were £1.8m (2010: losses of £0.5m) before unallocated corporate costs and net finance costs. Order book in the region is £40m (2010: £6.0m). Widnell performed better than expected at the time of its acquisition both in terms of revenues and profits, contributing £8.4m of revenues and £1.4m of net profit.

Revenue from Europe, which comprises operations in the UK, Ireland, France and Spain, was down to £44.6m (2010: £51.3m), accounting for 61.3% of group revenues. Segment profits were £2.6m (2010: £3.5m) before unallocated corporate costs and net finance costs and the order book is £37m (2010: £39m).

Group revenue for Middle East, Africa and India (MEAI) accounted for 14.5% of group revenues at £10.6m (2010: £8.8m). The segment broke even (2010: profit of £0.4m) before unallocated corporate costs and net finance costs and the order book is £7m (2010: £13m) reflecting lower activity levels in the UAE.

Established in 1928, Cyril Sweett has grown through strategic development into a global consultancy employing more than 1,200 people in offices across Europe, Middle East, North Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Asia Pacific and Australia. It has a further 1,600 people in 24 countries as part of alliances.

In 2007 Cyril Sweett became the first quantity surveying practice to be quoted on the London stock exchange alternative investment market.

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