WYG cuts losses after ‘year of great change’

Construction consultant White Young Green made a reduced pre-tax loss of £21.9m in the year to the end of June 2010 compared to £128.9m a year earlier.

The company said it had gone through "a year of great change for the consultancy…in response to very difficult market conditions in UK and Ireland."

Around 620 staff lost their jobs at the Leeds-based group during the year. Offices affected included the North West branches in Liverpool, Mold, Manchester and Cockermouth. Cluients incoude Manchester University, Peel at Liverpool Waters, Space North West and North Cumbria University Hospital NHS Trust.

Revenue fell from £261.6m to £220.6m but "cash generation has been strong", said chief executive Paul Hamer. The order book also fell, to £215m at 30 June from £260m the previous year.

In January, the company was saved by its banks. Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and Fortis Bank converted £53m of debt into a 60.5% controlling stake in the company. Staff and management of WYG own 24.5% and the original shareholders the remaining 15%.

The exceptional items incurred during the year, including redundancies, cost £23.8m. The company is now listed on the Alternative Investment Market having left the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

Hamer said: "Good progress was made in implementing our three-part strategy which we embarked on in January 2009. It focuses on creating a more efficient business structure that is fit for purpose, globalising of our core capabilities and creating service excellence in our chosen markets and geographies."

He added: "The overseas markets in which we operate have proved more resilient than some of our domestic markets and I am pleased to report that overseas revenue has grown by £12.5m to £65.3m – which is a record for WYG."

The new business plan sees WYG focused on "four key global market segments": buildings and critical infrastructure; transport; energy, sustainability and environment; and risk and assurance services.

Net debt at June 2010 stood at £33.9m (2009: £85.3m).

Shares in the company were unchanged at 31.25p, valuing it at £11.03m.

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