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Tue June 22 2021

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Sweett returns to profit

2 Jul 13 Having seen off a shareholder revolt and attempted coup, the board of construction consultant Sweett Group has led the business back into profit.

Chief executive Dean Webster
Chief executive Dean Webster

After making a million-pound loss in 2011, Sweett embarked on a three-year growth plan, with particular focus on the Asia Pacific region.

Former chairman Francis Ives, who still owns 4%, expressed concern about the direction of the business, and its debt burden, and led a shareholder revolt. However, 80% voted to stick with the current board.

They have been rewarded with much healthier financials. Sweett saw its revenues swell 11% to £80.6m for the year ended 31 March 2013 (2012: £72.8m).

It also reported a pre-tax profit of £1.8m (2012: loss of £1.0m) after exceptional administrative expenses, amortisation of acquired intangibles and net finance costs. Operating profit was £2.3m, compared to an operating loss of £200,000 the previous year.

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The order book stands at £100m, up from £90m a year ago.

Revenue from Europe, which includes the operations in the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe, was up to £42.1m (2011: £39.8m), accounting for 52.2% of revenue. Europe's profits were £2.6m (2012: £2.4m).  The order book stands at £39m (2011: £33m).

Debt has been reduced from just over £10.0m to £7.1m.

Chief executive Dean Webster said: "2013 was a year of significantly improved financial performance, financial position and growth across our businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.  We have a lean and diverse business which is well placed to benefit from some of the green shoots we are seeing in the construction industry in some of our markets.  We continue to win significant new commissions across our network of offices and are gaining market share from our competitors.  Over recent years we have repositioned the business and have built a solid global platform.  The next stage of our development will be to build on the platform we have created."

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