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Thu June 24 2021

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Sweett racks up heavy losses

8 Jun 16 Quantity surveying firm Sweett, soon to be taken over by Canada’s WSP, has posted a pre-tax annual loss of £19.1m.

For the year ended 31st March 2016, Sweett Group generated revenue of £77.0m (2015: £88.3m), on which it made an operating loss of £5.3m (2015: £700,000 loss).

The financial performance was damaged by a £13.7m loss on the disposal of the Asia Pacific (APAC) and India businesses, exceptional administrative expenses of £5.1m and operating losses in Middle East North Africa (MENA) of £1.9m.

Continuing operations generated £59.3m revenue and lost £5.1m. Sweett sold its APAC and India businesses to Currie & Brown in October 2015 for £9.3m and is pulling out of the MENA region after corrupt practices in its operations there were uncovered.

The subsequent dispute with Currie & Brown over the purchase price has now been settled. In March 2016 Currie & Brown told Sweett that under the terms of the sale deal it was entitled to £1.8m back. Sweett disputed this but now both sides have accepted the ruling of an independent expert that Sweett must hand back £1.3m. “This will be paid in due course and concludes the matter,” Sweett chief executive Douglas McCormick said

On the back of all these historic difficulties, Sweett’s board last month approved a £24m takeover approach from WSP. Shareholders get to vote at the end of this month.

Chief executive Douglas McCormick said: “It has been a busy year at Sweett Group.  The strategy that the board agreed in April 2015, shortly after my arrival as CEO, has largely been delivered.

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