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Sweett transformed into thriving business says board

3 Dec 13 Construction consultant Sweet Group has seen growth in revenues and profit in the first half of the year and is now positively ‘thriving’, according to its chairman.

Sweett chairman Mike Henderson
Sweett chairman Mike Henderson

Group revenue for the six months ended 30 September 2013 increased by 18% to £44.4m (2013 H1: £37.7m).

Adjusted profit before tax rose to £3.5m (2013 H1: £2.1m). Pre-tax profit was £2.8m (2013 H1: £1.6m) after exceptional administrative expenses, amortisation of acquired intangibles and net finance income/costs.

Chairman Michael Henderson said: "Efficient execution of our strategy is the theme of Sweett Group's 2013/14 first half results. Our disciplined approach to developing our business has successfully transformed it over time to a thriving quoted company."

Earlier this year Mr Henderson had to fight off an attempted boardroom coup by former chairman and senior partner Frances Ives, who remained a 4% shareholder. Mr Ives argued that the business had too much debt and was being badly run.

Mr Henderson said that  net debt had come down to £7.1m over the past year from £9.5m.

He said: "We are achieving considerable success in our plan to diversify into new sectors and are becoming more balanced geographically. Most importantly for our forward development, we are achieving a significant proportion of our new business from well-established customer relationships and preferred supplier status. The resulting increase in revenue visibility and demonstration of the strength and stability of our operations underpin our robust operational and financial performance.

"We have made further progress in creating value for shareholders, delivering financial results with good growth in revenue, profits and earnings per share. Our order book now stands at £101m and in addition we have a strengthening pipeline. While all parts of our business are performing well, the period under review saw notable contract wins in energy and infrastructure in the UK and Hong Kong.  We have an excellent hard working and determined team to thank for this.

 "We are maintaining our balance sheet discipline and our net debt position is down 23% compared to this time last year.  Our earnings flow has allowed us to invest in the future by strengthening our management and specialist teams as well as expanding our global footprint. I am pleased to say it has also led to the first potential returns for senior executives under the group's long term incentive plan.

"The increase in the interim dividend reflects the board's confidence that our significant capabilities, know-how and expertise place us in a strong position from which to achieve long term growth by delivering on the opportunities we have in the order book and pipeline."

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