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WSP Group reports 37% rise in profit

WSP says public sector in the US and the UK continues to grow. (FILE)

By Sona Nambiar

British building and environmental consultancy, WSP Group, reported a 37 per cent rise in full-year pre-tax profit beating market estimates and said it expected order book position and secure bank facilities to provide a solid platform in 2009, according to Reuters.

For the year ended December 31, the company's pre-tax profit rose to £52.1 million (Dh273.7m) from £37.9m in the previous year, while revenue rose 36 per cent to £755.2m.

The company said its strong position in Northern Europe and increased focus on the public sector would serve it well. It would also benefit from the growing requirement for sustainable solutions and carbon management to address climate change issues.

Meanwhile, Chairman David Turner said in a statement that the year saw the group having "to contend with changing economic conditions including declining markets in the private sector of the United Kingdom and, to a lesser extent, the United States and Australia" and an "an unprecedented slowdown in Dubai".

However, the public sector in the UK and the US "continues to grow and all our business activities in Sweden, Germany, South Africa and Asia are robust", he said.

While it has "responded immediately to reduce our resource", WSP continues to "bid for a number of major projects in the wider region and have won prestigious projects in Abu Dhabi and Qatar".

He said: "We have redeployed a number of our staff on International projects including Blue City, a substantial coastal residential project in Oman, Anfa Place which is a Foster+Partners project in Casablanca and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.

"Our experience in working overseas has also brought projects in a number of cities in India as well as in Saudi Arabia and the Far East. In addition we are increasing our workload in adjoining countries including Bahrain, Qatar, Libya and Morocco."

Following a detailed review of its business model, the group is "in the course of preparing a new Strategic Plan".

He said: "Our experience in acquiring and integrating businesses to support our strategy of diversification will continue, but only in a timely manner. When appropriate, and when stability returns to the markets, it is our intention to resume acquisitions and be proactive in consolidation, which we believe will occur in due course."