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RNS
Severfield PLC   -  SFR   

Results for the year ended 31 March 2019

Released 07:00 19-Jun-2019

RNS Number : 6744C
Severfield PLC
19 June 2019
 

 

 

19 June 2019

Results for the year ended 31 March 2019

 

Continued operational and strategic progress, further profit growth, UK and Europe order book of £295m, India order book of £134m

Severfield plc, the market leading structural steel group, announces its results for the 12 month period ended 31 March 2019.

Highlights

 

§     Revenue of £274.9m (2018: £274.2m)

§    Underlying* profit before tax up 5% to £24.7m (2018: £23.5m)

§     Underlying* basic earnings per share up 5% at 6.7p (2018: 6.4p)

§      Year-end net funds of £25.1m (2018: £33.0m) after payment of 2018 special dividend (£5.2m) and equity investment (£4.2m) in India to finance expansion of the Bellary factory

§     Total dividend increased by 8% to 2.8p per share (2018: 2.6p per share), includes proposed final dividend of 1.8p per share (2018: 1.7p per share)

§      Over 100 projects undertaken during the year in diverse market sectors including the new stadium for Tottenham Hotspur FC, the retractable roof for Wimbledon No.1 Court and a new commercial tower at 22 Bishopsgate

§     UK and Europe order book of £295m at 1 June 2019 (1 November 2018: £230m), including the first orders secured by our new European business

§     Share of profit from Indian joint venture ('JSSL') up 140% at £1.2m (2018: £0.5m)

§      Step change in Indian market position reflected in order book of £134m at 1 June 2019 (1 November 2018: £124m), expansion of the Bellary factory in progress

 

 

£m

 

12 months to

31 March 2019

12 months to

31 March 2018

Revenue

 

274.9

274.2

Underlying* operating profit

(before JVs and associates)

 

23.3

22.9

Underlying* operating margin

(before JVs and associates)

 

8.5%

8.3%

Operating profit (before JVs and associates)

 

23.3

21.5

Underlying* profit before tax

 

24.7

23.5

Profit before tax

 

24.7

22.2

Underlying* basic earnings per share

 

6.7p

6.4p

Basic earnings per share

 

6.7p

6.1p

 

* Underlying results are stated before non-underlying items of £nil (2018: £1.3m):

-   Amortisation of acquired intangible assets - £nil (2018: £1.3m)

 

-   The associated tax impact of the above, together with the impact of a reduction in future corporation tax rates on deferred tax liabilities - £nil (2018: £0.4m)

 

Alan Dunsmore, Chief Executive Officer commented:

 

'We are pleased to have delivered another year of good performance. Our UK and Europe order book of £295m contains a healthy mix of projects across a diverse range of sectors and we have made strategic progress in the UK, Europe and India.

 

There is now considerable positive momentum within the Group which, in combination with our cash generative nature and strong positions in our core markets, provides us with the platform for further operational and strategic progress. We remain on track to deliver on our strategic targets, including the doubling of underlying profit before tax to £26m by 2020 and we look forward to another positive year ahead.'

 

 

 

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Severfield

Alan Dunsmore

Chief Executive Officer

 

01845 577 896

 

Adam Semple

Group Finance Director

 

01845 577 896

Jefferies International

Simon Hardy

020 7029 8000

 

Will Soutar

 

020 7029 8000

Camarco

Ginny Pulbrook

020 3757 4980

 

Tom Huddart

020 3757 4980

 

 

 

 

Notes to editors:

Severfield is the UK's market leader in the design, fabrication and construction of structural steel, with a total capacity of c.150,000 tonnes of steel per annum. The Group has four sites, c.1,200 employees and expertise in large, complex projects across a broad range of sectors. The Group also has an established presence in the developing Indian market through its joint venture partnership with JSW Steel (India's largest steel producer).

 

 

OPERATING REVIEW

 

Group overview

The Group has delivered a good set of results in 2019, with further profit growth in the UK assisted by strong project delivery and ongoing improvements in operational performance, together with improved profitable performance from our Indian joint venture.

 

In 2019, we have continued to grow our overall profitability with underlying profit before tax up five per cent to £24.7m (2018: £23.5m) against a particularly strong profit performance in the prior year, which included higher than normal profits from certain project completions in the first half of 2018. This improved profit performance has been achieved despite slightly softer market conditions in the UK.

 

Cash remains one of the main measures of our underlying financial performance and our year-end net funds of £25.1m (2018: £33.0m) reinforces our solid balance sheet and provides us with a competitive benefit with both clients and our supply chain. Our strong cash position has allowed us the flexibility to fund the 2018 special dividend and to continue to invest in our UK businesses and in India, where the expansion of the Bellary factory is now underway.

 

The Indian joint venture ('JSSL') has performed well in 2019. The market for structural steel in India continues to expand as evidenced in JSSL's order book of £134m (1 November 2018: £124m) and a growing pipeline of commercial and industrial opportunities, which will benefit the business in 2020 and beyond. JSSL's good operational performance, revenue growth and lower financing costs, following the repayment of the term debt, have resulted in a Group share of profit after tax of £1.2m (2018: £0.5m) which is now beginning to reflect the step change in the Indian market position.

 

We continue to exceed our return on capital employed ('ROCE') target of 10 per cent and have achieved a return of 15.7 per cent in the year (2018: 16.5 per cent), maintaining the Group's alignment with its construction and engineering clients and peers.

 

We have made good progress during the year towards our strategic targets, including the doubling of 2016 underlying profit before tax to £26m by 2020. Based on this progress, the board has recommended a final dividend of 1.8p per share, making a total for the year of 2.8p per share (2018: 2.6p per share), an eight per cent increase on the prior year.

 

UK and Europe

Revenue was broadly flat year-on-year, mainly as a result of the softer UK market conditions and some project delays, to both contracts within the order book and in the conversion of our pipeline of opportunities, which predominantly impacted volumes in the second half of 2019. During the year, we continued to work on three large projects in London, each of which had project revenues in excess of £20m. These comprised a new commercial tower at 22 Bishopsgate, the new stadium for Tottenham Hotspur FC and the retractable roof for Wimbledon No. 1 Court, all of which are either now complete or substantially complete.

 

The underlying operating margin (before JVs and associates) was 8.5 per cent (2018: 8.3 per cent) resulting in an underlying operating profit (before JVs and associates) of £23.3m (2018: £22.9m). Although underlying operating profit shows a moderate increase year-on-year, it was against a strong comparator in the prior year, which included higher than normal profits in the first half from certain project completions.

 

The UK margin performance continues to reflect better risk and contract management processes, which are now deeply embedded within the Group's methodologies, and improvements in our operational execution. This includes the benefits from our programme of projects categorised under the banner of 'Smarter, Safer, more Sustainable', which provides a framework for the ongoing improvements to our business and factory processes, use of technology and operating efficiencies.

 

'Smarter, Safer, more Sustainable'

Our 'SSS' initiatives continue to focus on improving many aspects of our internal operations. These include the application of Lean manufacturing techniques, further automation of factory processes and waste elimination initiatives, together with our engineering forum which is looking at new and innovative ways of working including the use of technology across a number of existing manual processes and enhanced BIM (3D) modelling.

 

During the year, we have continued to invest in research and development into advanced technologies (including virtual reality and digital technologies) to further improve efficiencies and client service. We have also now fully rolled out our new Group-wide production management system (StruMIS) which will help drive ongoing value through increased productivity coupled with greater transparency and assurance.

 

Following the improvements to our IT infrastructure and manufacturing processes over recent years, we are also continuing to take steps to better capture and utilise real-time data, to better inform decision-making and improve efficiencies both in our factories and on our construction sites. This will minimise time spent manually collating and processing data, freeing up resource to focus on project delivery and facilitating more streamlined ways of working.

 

In January 2018, we reorganised our factory operations in North Yorkshire to drive further operational improvements, resulting in the consolidation of steel fabrication at Dalton and Sherburn into the Dalton facility. This combined facility is now operating at scale and the reorganisation of our footprint has contributed to increased operational efficiencies which are benefitting the Group's profitability.

 

Underpinning our culture of continuous improvement is the ongoing focus on human resources and the training and development of our people and our priority is to recruit, train and retain the highest calibre of workforce. Throughout the year we have continued to strengthen our leadership at both executive committee and at business unit levels and we are in the process of refreshing our Group people strategy. We continue to work with industry bodies and have developed initiatives to encourage people into a career in construction. During 2019, the Group recruited a number of apprentices, graduates and trainees, another means of ensuring that we have all the desired skill bases available in the future.

 

In 2019, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to people development, we launched the second wave of the Severfield development programme, which focuses on emerging leaders who have the potential to move into senior positions. We have also continued to develop and support our people to apply Lean manufacturing techniques to develop new skills, achieve new qualifications and, as part of the 'Smarter, Safer, more Sustainable' initiative, continually improve our businesses and client offering.

 

Order book and market conditions

The order book of £295m at 1 June 2019 represents an increase of £65m from the position of £230m at the time of announcing the half year results and will generate higher production and therefore revenue in the second half of the 2020 financial year. Pleasingly, this increase in the order book has been achieved whilst maintaining our focus on contract selectivity to ensure that the Group wins work only at acceptable terms and conditions and with acceptable levels of risk.

 

The order book, of which £256m is for delivery over the next 12 months, continues to contain a high proportion of lower risk, regional projects with shorter lead times. In addition, our order book continues to include the new Google Headquarters, for which an order of £50m was secured in December 2017, and which will require us to provide over 15,000 tonnes of structural steelwork for an 11 storey head office building at Kings Cross. Work on this project commenced late in the 2019 financial year and is scheduled to be substantially completed in the 2020 financial year.

 

The order book contains a healthy mix of projects across a diverse range of sectors including commercial offices, industrial and distribution, data centres and transport infrastructure. In 2019, our teams have been successful in securing a number of projects in the regions including mid-sized commercial office developments in Manchester and Nottingham, together with several other office developments in London. Other significant orders secured in the year include a large project at Heathrow airport, a car park development at Manchester airport and two large data centres in Finland and the Republic of Ireland. We have also had success in continental Europe with our new European business and, accordingly, the order book now includes the first orders secured by the European team based in the Netherlands.

 

Overall, the UK market continues to appear largely stable, with modest economic growth forecast, however we have seen evidence of some UK investment decisions being delayed in some of our market sectors particularly in the second half of the year against a backdrop of a generally more cautious commercial investment climate. Pricing remains an important factor and we continue to see some tender margins tightening on projects that we are bidding in the UK where some spare fabrication capacity now exists in the market. The impact of these UK market conditions is being mitigated by the continued re-emergence of the market in the Republic of Ireland and certain other significant opportunities in continental Europe where we have demonstrated our ability to win more work, supported by our new European business.

 

In general, our pipeline of potential future orders remains stable with a good balance of work across all key market sectors. The market for data centres and the industrial and distribution sector continues to be strong, both in the UK and in Europe, and these projects play to our strengths, requiring high-quality, rapid throughput, on-time performance and full co-ordination between stakeholders.

 

Looking further ahead, we are now starting to see more bidding activity in the London commercial market, a trend which we expect to increase over the next few years. In addition, we continue to pursue a number of significant infrastructure opportunities, particularly in the transport sector, which are being driven by the UK government's investment in infrastructure commitment, which is targeted to increase over the next few years. This will include projects such as HS2 (both stations and bridges) and the expansion of Heathrow airport. In addition, we also see good opportunities from the government's ongoing Network Rail and Highways England investment programmes. The combination of the Group's historical track record in transport infrastructure, together with our in-house bridge operations, leaves us well positioned to win work from such projects, all of which have significant steelwork content.

 

The Group is working with industry bodies to identify and manage any challenges and opportunities which may result in the UK's exit from the European Union. Being a largely UK-centric business, no changes have been required to our operating model, however we continue to monitor the pace of conversion of our pipeline of opportunities and, amongst other things, the availability of materials from our suppliers. Whilst there remains a great deal of uncertainty as to what Brexit will mean for the construction industry, we are scenario-planning and working with our clients and others in the industry to ensure we are able to respond to any future changes in market conditions.

 

Clients - increasingly broad spread and diverse

We are known for our strong relationships with clients, working collaboratively with them, anticipating issues they face, providing problem-solving solutions and demonstrating our capability to deliver complex engineering solutions. Our management and integration of the construction process, our capacity and speed of fabrication, our engineering excellence and the expert capabilities of the Group and its employees has allowed us to improve project delivery times to meet and exceed the requirements of our clients.

 

We believe that working more closely with our clients provides the best outcomes and is critical to securing new work. We continue to work with a number of clients to use innovative and collaborative ways of contracting which have enabled risk and reward to be appropriately shared and to explore and develop cost effective solutions to overcome project challenges. These arrangements require early contract engagement with clients to ensure greater clarity around scope, programme and cost which, in combination, reduces delivery risk for all parties.
 

During the year, we have focused on developing new client relationships both in the UK and also in Europe, where we are gaining good traction with our new European business. We believe that a stronger and wider client base and market focus will allow us to target an increased pipeline of opportunities, providing us with extra resilience and the ability to increase our market share.

 

Our client base, which represents a broad range of sectors and regions, includes Balfour Beatty, BAM, Bowmer and Kirkland, Buckingham, Canary Wharf Contractors, Ferrovial Agroman, Fluor, Galliford Try, H.B. Reavis, Hitachi, ISG, John Graham, John Sisk, Kier, Laing O'Rourke, LendLease, Mace, Morgan Sindall, McLaren, McLaughlin & Harvey, Multiplex, Readie, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska, Stanhope, TSL, Vinci, VolkerFitzpatrick, Winvic and Westfield. The Group worked on over 100 projects with our clients during the year including:

 

Major projects - over £20 million

Wimbledon (No. 1 Court roof), London

Tottenham Hotspur FC, London

22 Bishopsgate, London

Google Kings Cross, London

Commercial offices

St Giles Circus, London

80 Fenchurch Street, London

Snowhill, Birmingham

Central Square, Cardiff

One Braham, London

60 London Wall, London

Industrial and distribution

Large distribution centres, East Midlands and Darlington

Large warehouses, Wixam and Lutterworth

Transport infrastructure

Chiswick Bridge, London

Ely Southern Bridge, Cambridgeshire

M20 Road Bridge, Kent

Luton Viaduct, Bedfordshire

Multi-storey Car Park, Manchester Airport

Data centres

Data centres in Dublin, Belgium and Finland

Health and education

Manchester Engineering Campus Development

 

Our specialist cold rolled steel joint venture business, Construction Metal Forming Limited ('CMF'), has continued to grow and has performed well during the year. We are the only fabricator in the UK to have both a hot and cold rolled manufacturing capability. We continue to look at ways to improve factory efficiencies at CMF and to expand the product range, which now includes a growing purlin business, allowing the Group to continue integrating elements of its supply chain.

 

Following extensive negotiations with all stakeholders, we have now agreed a final settlement for the remedial bolt replacement works at Leadenhall, resulting in no further costs for the Group.

 

India

JSSL performed strongly in 2019 and its results are now beginning to reflect the step change in the market for structural steel in India. The Indian market has continued to expand, and we are seeing clear signs of the conversion of the market from concrete to steel which will drive the success and long term value of the business. This position is evident in an order book at 1 June 2019 of £134m    (1 November 2018: £124m), which now contains a stronger mix of higher margin commercial work. Significant new orders secured in the year include two large commercial projects - Sattva, in the state of Hyderabad, and Amaravati, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, together with numerous industrial projects, many of which are for our joint venture partner, JSW Steel ('JSW'). The expanding market position is also reflected in a pipeline which includes a growing large number of potentially interesting commercial projects for key developers and clients with whom we are now developing strong relationships. In addition, we also have visibility of an increased pipeline of industrial work, including those for JSW, which is currently expanding its domestic steel output, a process which we expect to continue for the foreseeable future.
 

In 2019, JSSL continued to grow and has increased its profit during the year, of which the Group's after tax share was £1.2m (2018: £0.5m). The higher profitability in the year reflects both increased revenue and good operational performance, together with lower financing costs following the repayment of the term debt in June 2017. JSSL's revenue has increased significantly to £84m compared with £48m in the previous year, driven by higher volumes of industrial work in 2019, a position which was also manifest in the higher order book coming into the financial year. This greater mix of industrial work has resulted in a reduction in the operating margin to 6.4 per cent compared to 9.2 per cent in 2018, however, given the greater proportion of commercial work in the current order book, we expect to see an improvement in the operating margin in the 2020 financial year and beyond.

 

The expansion of the Bellary facility, which will increase factory capacity from c.60,000 tonnes to c.90,000 tonnes, is now well underway and is expected to be completed towards the end of the 2020 financial year. During the year, JSSL has strengthened its senior management team, enhanced and expanded its subcontracting supply chain partnerships and is upskilling its workforce, bringing people with new skills into the business to support the expansion and to provide the business with the springboard to deliver future profitable growth.

 

Overall, we remain excited about the long-term development of the market and of the business, especially considering the encouraging market developments and step up in the order book and we expect that value will continue to build in JSSL as it continues to expand and develop.

 

Safety

Health and safety continue to be at the forefront of everything we do and, for the third year running, we have seen an improvement in our overall safety performance. The Group's accident frequency rate ('AFR') for the year, which includes our Indian joint venture, was 0.11, compared to 0.22 in 2018, mainly driven by our UK operations which reduced its AFR from 0.40 to 0.21 during the year. As a recognised measure of safety performance, our AFR not only reflects how we do business but is a key differentiator in the market. Indeed, safety is becoming increasingly important for our clients at the selection stage.

 

Our executive committee is focused on continually promoting and improving our safety culture. Reviews of safety performance are conducted monthly, with emphasis on not only RIDDORs but also high potential near miss incidents and minor injuries. All high potential incidents are investigated and resolved by our businesses, in conjunction with the Group SHE director, chief operating officer and the relevant managing director.

 

Behavioural safety continues to be an integral part of improving our safety culture and our behavioural safety coaches are empowered to encourage ownership of safety across all levels of the business. Escalating the programme to the senior management team has promoted better ownership and accountability and has allowed us to further embed our 'safety first' values and to see positive tangible changes in our culture.

 

Board members are engaging with employees and promoting our safety campaigns with positive results. The number of visits to site by board members has increased year-on-year and the content of these visits has been enhanced, encouraging suggestions for improvement and the sharing of best practise across the Group. Building on senior management's responsibility for safety, our management teams now deliver quarterly presentations which include 'lessons learned' from recent incidents and the reinforcement of our safety values.

 

In raising awareness of mental health, our internal 'heads up' campaign has now become embedded in our culture. Our commitment to mental health and well-being stems from a strong recognition of our responsibility to provide a safe working environment, which transcends physical health and actively promotes the importance of mental health and well-being. As an organisation, we have a responsibility to take care of each other and ourselves. Promotion of positive mental health is continual, and help is accessible to all with our 24-hour employee assistance line. All our employees have now attended an awareness session to assist them in understanding the signs and symptoms of poor mental health.
 

Sustainability as a topic continues to be more prevalent within the Group. Employees are becoming more and more aware of what impact they can have on shaping our future, and making our business 'Smarter, Safer and more Sustainable'. Suggestions for sustainable improvements across the business are collected from colleagues and implemented where appropriate. Employees are given opportunities to support local and national charities through our social and charitable committees, creating better community relationships. The Group encourages employees to continue developing their skillsets through both our internal learning and development programmes, and through the achievement of appropriate professional qualifications. Apprenticeships are encouraged throughout the business, and we work closely with local college and university communities to attract the best and most diverse talent.

 

Strategy

We are continuing to deliver on our strategic objectives including making good progress towards our 2020 strategic profit target. In 2019, as part of the ongoing 'Smarter, Safer, more Sustainable' programme, we have continued to implement a number of operational, factory and technological improvements and supply chain enhancements as well as continuing to invest in our leadership teams and people to ensure we are well placed to capture the opportunities presented by our markets. The improvement in our safety performance during the year will also benefit future performance and productivity.

 

During the year, the continuation of the Group's capital investment programme, which includes new state-of-the-art, high speed and high performance equipment for our UK factories, is helping our operating businesses to be highly competitive and operationally efficient. We will continue to invest £6m to £7m per annum to support the development of our client service offering and to drive operational improvements and efficiencies.

 

Over the last two years, we have been targeting three new areas of organic growth - Europe, Severfield (Products & Processing) ('SPP') and medium to high-rise residential construction - and we are pleased to report good progress with the first two of these potential areas of growth.

 

Firstly, we have continued to develop our new European business, which is based in the Netherlands, aided by a small but growing locally-based team which includes our business development director. During the year, the business has been successful in securing its first orders which will generate incremental revenue for the Group in the 2020 financial year. The business also has a number of live tenders for work in continental Europe and there is now a growing pipeline of opportunities which includes many potentially interesting and high quality projects, certain of which are with clients with whom we are used to working in the UK. The European team's market knowledge and experience has also been invaluable to our UK business when tendering for and delivering an increased pipeline of European work, providing us with a competitive advantage and the ability to deliver excellent client service as we look to expand into new market sectors.

 

Secondly, SPP, our new business venture at the Sherburn facility, commenced trading in April 2018. This business is allowing us to address smaller scale projects and provides a one-stop shop for smaller fabricators to source high quality processed steel and ancillary products. Notwithstanding the slightly softer UK market conditions, which have resulted in a lower than expected number of enquiries in the second half of the year, the business has secured and successfully delivered a number of orders to a variety of new customers. During this time, we have also gained more intelligence on both our competitors and customers in what is clearly a competitive and lower margin marketplace. Notwithstanding this, we remain focused on improving our factory efficiency, client service and range of products and continue to develop our customer relationships and pipeline of potential future orders to enable us to increase our market share.

 

In addition, we have also maintained our focus on the market for medium to high-rise residential construction where we have developed a steel solution. We continue to see potential opportunities in what is an attractive market for us and discussions with a number of interested parties remain ongoing. We continue to push hard to secure our first order, which we believe will be an important step in establishing a track record in what is currently a concrete-dominated market sector.
 

Summary and outlook

The Group has performed well in 2019, with good profit and margin growth in the UK, where we continue to see tangible benefits from our 'SSS' business improvement initiatives, coupled with a strong performance from our Indian joint venture. Whilst market conditions in the UK have been more challenging recently, the impact of this is being offset by an improved picture in the Republic of Ireland and in Europe and with an order book of £295m and a stable pipeline of opportunities, we expect 2020 to be another year of progress for our core businesses in the UK.

 

In India, with the expansion of the operations in Bellary now underway, an order book of £134m and a growing level of new opportunities which includes a number of interesting commercial projects, our joint venture business remains well positioned to take advantage of a market for structural steel which continues to expand.

 

There is now considerable positive momentum within the Group which, in combination with our cash generative nature and strong positions in our core markets, provides us with the platform for further operational and strategic progress. We remain on track to deliver on our strategic targets, including the doubling of 2016 underlying profit before tax to £26m by 2020 and we look forward to another positive year ahead.

 

Finally, I would like to thank all of our employees for their hard work and commitment during the year. The success of our business is without doubt dependent on their continued support.

 

 

 

Alan Dunsmore

Chief Executive Officer

19 June 2019

 

 

FINANCIAL REVIEW

 

2019

2018

Revenue

£274.9m

£274.2m

Underlying* operating profit (before JVs and associates)

£23.3m

£22.9m

Underlying* operating margin (before JVs and associates)

8.5%

8.3%

Underlying* profit before tax

£24.7m

£23.5m

Underlying* basic earnings per share

6.7p

6.4p

Operating profit (before JVs and associates)

£23.3m

£21.5m

Profit before tax

£24.7m

£22.2m

Basic earnings per share

6.7p

6.1p

Return on capital employed ('ROCE')

15.7%

16.5%

*     The basis for stating results on an underlying basis is set out on the highlights page. The board believes that non-underlying items should be separately identified on the face of the income statement to assist in understanding the underlying performance of the Group. Accordingly, adjusted performance measures have been used throughout this report to describe the Group's underlying performance.

 

Trading performance

2019 has been another successful year for the Group. Revenue for the year ended 31 March 2019 of £274.9m represents a slight increase of £0.7m compared with the previous year reflecting a solid performance in the UK in light of softer market conditions, which particularly impacted the second half of the year. The Group's order book at 1 June 2019 of £295m represents an increase of £65m from the position at the time of announcing the half year results (1 November 2018: £230m) and will generate higher production and therefore revenue in the second half of the 2020 financial year.

 

Underlying operating profit (before JVs and associates) of £23.3m (2018: £22.9m) reflects an increase of £0.4m over the year. This mainly reflects a higher underlying operating margin (before JVs and associates) of 8.5 per cent (2018: 8.3 per cent) against a particularly strong margin comparator in 2018, which benefitted from higher than normal profits from certain project completions. The 2019 margin demonstrates further margin progression and improvements to our operational execution. The Group continues to maintain a high level of focus on operational efficiency through better risk and contract management processes as well as driving process improvements in the Group's production facilities. There were no non-underlying items in the year and accordingly no difference between underlying operating profit (before JVs and associates) and its statutory equivalent of £23.3m (2018: £21.5m).

 

The share of results of JVs and associates was a profit of £1.7m (2018: £0.9m) and net finance costs were £0.2m (2018: £0.2m).

 

Underlying profit before tax, which is management's primary measure of Group profitability, was £24.7m (2018: £23.5m). The statutory profit before tax, reflecting both underlying and non-underlying items, was £24.7m (2018: £22.2m).

 

Share of results of JVs and associates

The Group's share of results from its Indian joint venture was a profit of £1.2m (2018: £0.5m) with the improved result due to both good contract performance together with lower financing costs. The operating margin has decreased to 6.4 per cent (2018: 9.2 per cent) reflecting a significantly higher mix of (lower margin) industrial work in the order book coming into the 2019 financial year. The current order book now shows a higher proportion of commercial work, reflecting the award of several large commercial orders in 2019, which will benefit the operating margin in the 2020 financial year.

 

Our specialist cold rolled steel joint venture business, CMF, contributed a Group share of profit of £0.4m (2018: £0.4m). The business has continued to develop its product range, having expanded its metal decking supply to allow the production of purlins and additional cold formed products in 2018 to drive organic revenue growth. We continue to be the only hot rolled steel fabricator in the UK to have this cold rolled manufacturing capability.

 

Non-underlying items

Non-underlying items are classified as such as they do not form part of the profit monitored in the ongoing management of the Group. There were no non-underlying items in the current financial year (2018: £1.3m). The charge in the prior year represented the amortisation of customer relationships which were identified on the acquisition of Fisher Engineering in 2007 and are now fully amortised.

 

Finance costs

Net finance costs in the year were £0.2m (2018: £0.2m). The Group has been in a net funds position for the whole of the financial year; consequently, the finance costs of £0.2m primarily represent non-utilisation fees for the revolving credit facility and the amortisation of capitalised transaction costs.

 

Taxation

The Group's underlying taxable profits (which excludes results from the JVs and associates) of £23.1m (2018: £22.6m) resulted in an underlying tax charge of £4.5m (2018: £4.4m) which represents an effective tax rate of 19.7 per cent (2018: 19.4 per cent).

 

Earnings per share

Underlying basic earnings per share increased by five per cent to 6.7p (2018: 6.4p) based on the underlying profit after tax of £20.2m (2018: £19.1m) and the weighted average number of shares in issue of 303.1m (2018: 299.7m). Basic earnings per share, which is based on the statutory profit after tax, was 6.7p (2018: 6.1p), this growth reflects the increased profit after tax and a reduction in non-underlying items. Diluted earnings per share, including the effect of the Group's performance share plan, was 6.6p (2018: 6.0p).

 

Dividend and capital structure

The Group has a progressive dividend policy. Funding flexibility is maintained to ensure there are sufficient cash resources to fund the Group's requirements. In this context, the board has established the following clear priorities for the use of cash:

 

§    To support the Group's ongoing operational requirements, and to fund profitable organic growth opportunities where these meet the Group's investment criteria;

§      To support steady growth in the core dividend as the Group's profits increase;

§      To finance other possible strategic opportunities that meet the Group's investment criteria;

§     To return excess cash to shareholders in the most appropriate way, whilst maintaining a good underlying net funds position on the balance sheet.

 

The board is recommending a final dividend of 1.8p per share (2018: 1.7p), payable on 13 September 2019 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 16 August 2019. This, together with the Group's interim dividend of 1.0p per share (2018: 0.9p), will result in a total dividend per share for 2019 of 2.8p (2018: 2.6p), an increase on the prior year of eight per cent. The final dividend is not reflected on the balance sheet at 31 March 2019 as it remains subject to shareholder approval.

 

A special dividend of 1.7p per share was recommended for the previous financial year, which was approved by shareholders and paid during the current financial year.

 

Goodwill and intangible assets

Goodwill on the balance sheet is valued at £54.7m (2018: £54.7m). In accordance with IFRS, an annual impairment review has been performed. No impairment was required either during the year ended 31 March 2019 or the year ended 31 March 2018.

 

Other intangible assets on the balance sheet are recorded at £nil (2018: £0.1m). Amortisation of £0.1m (2018: £1.5m) was charged in the year.

 

Capital investment

The Group has property, plant and equipment of £84.0m (2018: £81.2m). Capital expenditure of £7.0m (2018: £6.4m) represents the continuation of the Group's capital investment programme. This included investment in production machinery, site lifting equipment, yard improvements, and factory and site enhancements. Depreciation in the year was £3.6m (2018: £3.7m).

 

Joint ventures

The carrying value of our investment in joint ventures and associates was £24.3m (2018: £18.5m) which consists of the investment in India of £16.1m (2018: £10.7m) and in CMF of £8.2m (2018: £7.8m). During the year, we invested additional equity of £4.2m in the Indian joint venture business (matched by an equivalent investment by our joint venture partner JSW Steel) to support the expansion of the Bellary facility.

 

Pensions

The Group has a defined benefit pension scheme which, although closed to new members, had an IAS 19 deficit of £20.0m at 31 March 2019 (2018: £17.2m). The increase in the liability is mainly due to:

 

§ changes to the scheme's demographic assumptions (updated mortality assumptions and a lower proportion of members assumed to take tax-free cash at retirement, based on broader trends in the pensions market); and

§ changes to the scheme's financial assumptions (lower discount rate and higher RPI price inflation assumption, both of which increased liabilities).

 

The impact has been partly offset by the ongoing deficit contributions by the Group during the year. The last formal triennial funding valuation of the scheme was completed, with a valuation date of 5 April 2017. All other pension arrangements in the Group are of a defined contribution nature.

 

Return on capital employed

The Group adopts ROCE as a KPI to help ensure that its strategy and associated investment decisions recognise the underlying cost of capital of the business. The Group's ROCE is defined as underlying operating profit divided by the average of opening and closing capital employed. Capital employed is defined as shareholders' equity excluding retirement benefit obligations (net of tax), acquired intangible assets and net funds. For 2019, ROCE was 15.7 per cent (2018: 16.5 per cent), which exceeds the Group's target of 10 per cent through the economic cycle.

 

Cash flow

 

2018

Operating cash flow (before working capital movements)

£25.8m

£26.7m

Cash generated from operations

£18.0m

£23.0m

Operating cash conversion

50%

77%

Net funds

£25.1m

£33.0m

 

The Group has always placed a high priority on cash generation and the active management of working capital. The Group ended the financial year with net funds of £25.1m (2018: £33.0m), following capital expenditure of £7.0m, the payment of the 2018 special dividend of £5.2m and the investment of additional equity into the Indian joint venture of £4.2m.

 

Operating cash flow for the year before working capital movements was £25.8m (2018: £26.7m). Net working capital increased by £7.9m mainly due to movements in the phasing of contract cash flows and a normalisation of working capital following the atypically low working capital position (two per cent of sales) coming into the year. Excluding advance payments, year-end net working capital represented approximately five per cent of revenue (2018: two per cent). This is within the four to six per cent range which we have been targeting, reflecting our continued focus on working capital management.
 

In 2019, our cash generation KPI shows a conversion of 50 per cent (2018: 77 per cent) of underlying operating profit (before JVs and associates) into operating cash (cash generated from operations less net capital expenditure). This is below our target conversion of 85 per cent largely as a result of the increase in working capital as described above.

 

Net investment during the year was £6.3m (2018: £5.4m), reflecting capital expenditure of £7.0m (2018: £6.4m) less proceeds from disposals of £0.7m (2018: £1.0m).

 

Bank facilities committed until 2023

On 31 October 2018, the Group refinanced its existing borrowing facilities of £25m with HSBC Bank plc and Yorkshire Bank. This new facility, also a £25m revolving credit facility ('RCF'), matures in October 2023. The facility continues to include an accordion facility of £20m, which allows the Group to increase the aggregate available borrowings to £45m at the Group's request.

 

The facility is subject to two key financial covenants, namely net debt: EBITDA of <2.5x, and interest cover of >4x. The Group operated well within these covenant limits throughout the year ended 31 March 2019.

 

Due to the continued net funds position of the Group, the facilities were not utilised during the year and continue to provide ongoing funding headroom and financial security for the Group.

 

Treasury

Group treasury activities are managed and controlled centrally. Risks to assets and potential liabilities to customers, employees and the public continue to be insured. The Group maintains its low-risk financial management policy by insuring all significant trade debtors.

 

The treasury function seeks to reduce the Group's exposure to any interest rate, foreign exchange and other financial risks, to ensure that adequate, secure and cost-effective funding arrangements are maintained to finance current and planned future activities and to invest cash assets safely and profitably.

 

The Group continues to have some exposure to exchange rate fluctuations, currently between sterling and the euro. In order to maintain the projected level of profit budgeted on contracts, foreign exchange forward contracts are taken out to convert into sterling at the expected date of receipt. The Group adopts hedge accounting for the majority of transaction hedging positions, thereby mitigating the impact of market value changes in the income statement.

 

New accounting standards

IFRS 15 - in the prior year, the Group undertook a detailed exercise comparing the existing revenue recognition policies against the requirements of IFRS 15, the new revenue accounting standard which is effective for the current financial year. This assessment involved identifying the significant areas of difference and quantifying their effect on a sample of different types of contract to ensure that the impact of the new standard is fully understood and acted upon in advance of the effective date. The conclusion of the assessment was that the directors are satisfied that no material adjustments were required on the initial application of the new standard. The standard has been implemented with full retrospective application in the financial statements. Additional disclosures, as required by IFRS 15, are incorporated into the financial statements.

 

IFRS 16 - during the current financial year, the Group assessed the impact of adopting IFRS 16, the new leasing standard which becomes effective for the 2020 financial year. The adoption of IFRS 16 will result in a right-of-use asset of approximately £11m and a lease liability of approximately £12m being brought onto the Group's balance sheet (based on the Group's leases as at 1 April 2019). The profit impact of the adoption of this new accounting standard is not expected to be material.

 

Impact of Brexit

Following the UK referendum vote to leave the European Union ('EU'), the UK government continues to negotiate the terms of the UK's future relationship with the EU, which has led to a period of economic uncertainty. The Group has taken steps to prepare for the potential outcomes of Brexit and has plans in place to ensure it can continue to deliver on current and future contractual commitments.

 

Going concern

In determining whether the Group's annual consolidated financial statements can be prepared on the going concern basis, the directors considered all factors likely to affect its future development, performance and its financial position, including cash flows, liquidity position and borrowing facilities and the risks and uncertainties relating to its business activities.

 

The following factors were considered as relevant:

§       The UK order book and the pipeline of potential future orders;

§     The Group's operational improvement programme which has delivered stronger financial performance and is expected to continue doing so in the 2020 financial year and beyond;

§     The Group's net funds position and its bank finance facilities which are committed until October 2023, including both the level of those facilities and the covenants attached to them.

 

Based on the above, having made appropriate enquiries and reviewed medium-term cash forecasts, the directors consider it reasonable to assume that the Group has adequate resources to continue for at least 12 months from the date of approval of the financial statements and therefore that it is appropriate to continue to adopt the going concern basis in preparing the financial statements.

 

Viability statement

In accordance with provision C.2.2 of the 2016 revision of the UK Corporate Governance Code (the 'Code'), the directors have carried out a robust assessment of the principal risks and uncertainties and assessed the Group's viability over a three-year period ending on 31 March 2022. The starting point in making this assessment was the annual strategic planning process. While this process and associated financial projections cover a period of four years, the first three years of the plan are considered to contain all of the key underlying assumptions that will provide the most appropriate information on which to assess the Group's viability. This assessment also considered:

 

§     The programmes associated with the majority of the Group's most significant construction contracts, the execution period of which is normally less than three years;

§      The good visibility of the Group's future revenues for the next three years which is provided by external forecasts for the construction market, market surveys and our own order book and pipeline of opportunities (prospects).

 

In making their assessment, the directors took account of the Group's strategy, current strong financial position, recent and planned investments, together with the Group's main committed bank facilities. These committed bank facilities mature in October 2023.

 

The directors assessed the potential financial and operational impact of possible scenarios resulting from the crystallisation of one of more of the principal risks described in the annual report as well as taking into consideration recent issues (such as recent corporate failures and the uncertainties caused by the UK's pending exit from the EU) that are relevant to the industry sector in which the Group operates. In particular, the impact of a reduction in margin of 25 per cent, a reduction in revenue of 25 per cent, a deterioration in working capital (the extension of customer payment terms by one month), a period of business interruption (two months with no factory production) and a significant one-off event resulting in a cost to the Group of £15m.

 

The range of scenarios tested was considered in detail by the directors, taking account of the probability of occurrence and the effectiveness of likely mitigation actions.

 

Based on this assessment, the directors have a reasonable expectation that the Group will be able to continue in operation and meet its liabilities as they fall due over the three-year period of their assessment.

 

 

 

Adam Semple

Group Finance Director

19 June 2019

 

 

Consolidated income statement

For the year ended 31 March 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underlying

 2019

£000

 

 

Non-underlying

2019

£000

 

 

Total

2019

£000

 

 

Underlying

 2018

£000

 

 

Non-underlying

2018

£000

 

 

Total

2018

£000

Revenue

     274,917

               -

     274,917

     274,203

               -

     274,203

Operating costs

    (251,661)

               -

    (251,661)

    (251,337)

       (1,333)

    (252,670)

Operating profit before share of results of JVs and associates

      23,256

               -

      23,256

      22,866

       (1,333)

      21,533

Share of results of JVs and associates

        1,650

               -

        1,650

           882

               -

           882

Operating profit

      24,906

               -

      24,906

      23,748

       (1,333)

      22,415

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finance expense

          (195)

               -

          (195)

          (236)

               -

          (236)

Profit before tax          

      24,711

               -

      24,711

      23,512

       (1,333)

      22,179

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tax

       (4,549)

               -

       (4,549)

       (4,385)

           352

       (4,033)

Profit for the year attributable to the equity holders of the parent

      20,162

               -

      20,162

      19,127

          (981)

      18,146

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings per share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

       6.65p

               -

       6.65p

       6.38p

      (0.33p)

       6.05p

Diluted

       6.58p

               -

       6.58p

       6.29p

      (0.32p)

       5.97p

 

All of the above activities relate to continuing operations.

 

Further details of 2018 non-underlying items are disclosed in note 3.

 

Consolidated statement of comprehensive income

For the year ended 31 March 2019

 

 

Year ended

31 March 2019

£000

 

Year ended

31 March 2018

£000

 

Actuarial (loss)/gain on defined benefit

pension scheme*

                        (3,702)

                         3,606

Gains taken to equity on cash flow hedges

                           540

                           435

Reclassification adjustments on cash flow hedges

                           129

                          (346)

Exchange difference on foreign operations

                             16

                               -

Tax relating to components of other comprehensive income*

                           624

                          (700)

Other comprehensive income for the year

                        (2,393)

                         2,995

Profit for the year from continuing operations

                       20,162

                       18,146

Total comprehensive income for the

year attributable to equity shareholders

                       17,769

                       21,141

 

 

 

* These items will not be subsequently reclassified to the consolidated income statement.

 

 

Consolidated balance sheet

As at 31 March 2019

 

 

                         2019

                         £000

                         2018

                         £000

ASSETS

 

 

 

 

 

Non-current assets

 

 

     Goodwill

                      54,712

                      54,712

     Other intangible assets

                               -

                           103

     Property, plant and equipment

                      83,986

                      81,239

     Interests in JVs and associates

                      24,335

                      18,456

 

                    163,033

                    154,510

Current assets

 

 

     Inventories

                        8,915

                        9,646

     Contract assets, trade and other receivables

                      57,117

                      56,270

     Derivative financial instruments

                           762

                           167

     Cash and cash equivalents

                      24,979

                      33,114

 

                      91,773

                      99,197

 

 

 

Total assets

                    254,806

                    253,707

 

 

 

LIABILITIES

 

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities

 

 

     Trade and other payables

                     (57,661)

                     (64,225)

     Financial liabilities - finance leases

                           (49)

                          (180)

     Current tax liabilities

                          (928)

                       (1,645)

 

                     (58,638)

                     (66,050)

Non-current liabilities

 

 

     Retirement benefit obligations

                     (19,972)

                     (17,248)

     Financial liabilities - finance leases

                               -

                           (49)

     Deferred tax liabilities

                       (1,189)

                       (1,363)

 

                     (21,161)

                     (18,660)

 

 

 

Total liabilities

                     (79,799)

                     (84,710)

 

 

 

NET ASSETS

                    175,007

                    168,997

 

 

 

EQUITY

 

 

 

 

 

Share capital

                        7,600

                        7,492

Share premium

                      87,254

                      85,702

Other reserves

                        3,819

                        4,749

Retained earnings

                      76,334

                      71,054

TOTAL EQUITY

                    175,007

                    168,997

 

 

Consolidated statement of changes in equity

For the year ended 31 March 2019

 

 

 

       Share

     capital

         £000

       Share

  premium

         £000

       Other

   reserves

         £000

  Retained

  earnings

         £000

        Total

      equity

         £000

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 1 April 2018

        7,492

       85,702

        4,749

       71,054

     168,997

Total comprehensive income for the year

               -

               -

          685

      17,084

       17,769

Ordinary shares issued *

          108

        1,552

               -

               -

        1,660

Equity settled share-based payments

               -

               -

       (1,615)

        1,549

            (66)

Dividend paid

               -

               -

               -

     (13,353)

      (13,353)

At 31 March 2019

        7,600

      87,254

        3,819

      76,334

     175,007

 

 

 

 

 

 

* The issue of shares represents shares allotted to satisfy the 2015 performance share plan award which vested in June 2018 and the 2015 sharesave scheme.

 

 

 

       Share

      capital

         £000

       Share

   premium

         £000

        Other

   reserves

         £000

   Retained

   earnings

         £000

        Total

       equity

         £000

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 1 April 2017

        7,471

      85,702

        3,710

     57,274

    154,157

Total comprehensive income for the year

               -

                -

            89

     21,052

      21,141

Ordinary shares issued **

            21

                -

               -

              -

            21

Equity settled share-based payments

               -

                -

          950

         218

        1,168

Dividend paid

               -

                -

               -

      (7,490)

       (7,490)

At 31 March 2018

        7,492

      85,702

        4,749

     71,054

    168,997

 

 

 

 

 

 

** The issue of shares represents shares allotted to satisfy the 2014 performance share plan award which vested in June and November 2017.

 

 

Consolidated cash flow statement

For the year ended 31 March 2019

 

 

Year ended

31 March 2019

£000

 

Year ended

31 March 2018

£000

 

Net cash flow from operating activities

                      14,616

                      19,039

 

 

 

Cash flows from investing activities

 

 

Proceeds on disposal of land and buildings

                            10

                               -

Proceeds on disposal of other property, plant and equipment

                           724

                        1,012

Purchases of land and buildings

                          (485)

                          (412)

Purchases of other property, plant and equipment

                       (6,516)

                       (5,996)

Investment in JVs and associates

                       (4,229)

                       (5,506)

Net cash used in investing activities

                     (10,496)

                     (10,902)

 

 

 

Cash flows from financing activities

 

 

Interest paid

                          (382)

                          (202)

Dividends paid

                     (13,353)

                       (7,490)

Proceeds from shares issued

                        1,660

                               -

Repayment of obligations under finance leases

                          (180)

                          (180)

Net cash used in financing activities

                     (12,255)

                       (7,872)

 

 

 

Net (decrease)/increase in cash and

cash equivalents

                       (8,135)

                           265

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year

                      33,114

                      32,849

Cash and cash equivalents at end of year

                      24,979

                      33,114

 

 

 

 

 

1)         Basis of preparation

The preliminary announcement has been prepared in accordance with the Listing Rules of the FCA and is based on the 2019 financial statements which have been prepared under International Financial Reporting Standards ('IFRS') as adopted by the European Union and those parts of the Companies Act 2006 applicable to companies reporting under IFRS.

 

The accounting policies applied in preparing the preliminary announcement are consistent with those used in preparing the statutory financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2018, except as detailed below.

 

The Group has adopted IFRS 15, 'Revenue from Contracts with Customers' from 1 April 2018. The new standard modifies the determination of how much revenue to recognise, and when, and introduces a single, principles based five-step model to be applied to all contracts with customers. IFRS 15 replaces the separate models for goods, services and construction contracts currently included in IAS 11 'Construction Contracts' and IAS 18 'Revenue'. The implementation of IFRS 15 did not have a material impact on the timing or amount of revenue recognised by the Group in the current or comparative period.

 

The preliminary announcement does not constitute the statutory financial statements of the Group within the meaning of Section 434 of the Companies Act 2006. The statutory financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2018 have been filed with the Registrar of Companies. The auditor has reported on those financial statements and on the statutory financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2019, which will be filed with the Registrar of Companies following the annual general meeting. Both the audit reports were unqualified, did not draw attention to any matters by way of emphasis, without qualifying their report, and did not contain any statements under Section 498(2) or (3) of the Companies Act 2006.

 

The preliminary announcement has been agreed with the Company's auditor for release.

 

 

2)         Segment reporting

Following the adoption of IFRS 8, 'Operating Segments' the Group has identified its operating segments with reference to the information regularly reviewed by the executive committee ((the chief operating decision maker) ('CODM')) to assess performance and allocate resources. On this basis, the CODM has identified one operating segment (construction contracts) which in turn is the only reportable segment of the Group. The constituent operating businesses have been aggregated as they have similar products and services, production processes, types of customer, methods of distribution, regulatory environments and economic characteristics.

 

 

3)         Non-underlying items
 

 

 

2019

£000

2018

£000

Amortisation of acquired intangible assets

-

                 (1,333)

Non-underlying items before tax

-

                 (1,333)

Tax on non-underlying items

-

                    352

Non-underlying items after tax

-

                   (981)

 

Non-underlying items have been separately identified to provide a better indication of the Group's underlying business performance. They are not considered to be 'business as usual' items and have a varying impact on different businesses and reporting years. They have been separately identified as a result of their magnitude, incidence or unpredictable nature. These items are presented as a separate column within their consolidated income statement category. Their separate identification results in a calculation of an underlying profit measure in the same way as it is presented and reviewed by management.

 

In the prior year, amortisation of acquired intangible assets represented the amortisation of customer relationships which were identified on the acquisition of Fisher Engineering in 2007. These customer relationships were fully amortised during the 2018 financial year and no additional non-underlying items have been identified in the current year.

 

 

4)         Taxation
 

The taxation charge comprises:

 

2019

£000

                   2018

                   £000

Current tax

 

 

 

 

 

UK corporation tax

                 (3,721)

                 (3,047)

Adjustments to prior years' provisions

                    (378)

                    (176)

 

                 (4,099)

                 (3,223)

 

 

 

Deferred tax

 

 

 

 

 

Current year charge

                    (625)

                    (963)

Impact of reduction in future years' tax rates

                         -

                      99

Adjustments to prior years' provisions

                     175

                      54

 

                    (450)

                    (810)

 

 

 

Total tax charge

                 (4,549)

                 (4,033)

 

 

 

5)         Dividends
 

 

                   2019

                   £000

                   2018

                   £000

Amounts recognised as distributions to equity holders in the year:

 

 

2018 final - 1.7p per share (2017: 1.6p per share)

                 (5,158)

                 (4,793)

2018 special - 1.7p per share (2017: nil per share)

                 (5,158)

-

2019 interim - 1.0p per share (2018: 0.9p per share)

                 (3,036)

                 (2,697)

 

               (13,353)

                 (7,490)

 

The directors are recommending a final dividend in respect of the financial year ended 31 March 2019 of 1.8p per share, which will amount to an estimated dividend payment of £5.5m. If approved by the shareholders at the annual general meeting on 3 September 2019, this dividend will be paid on 13 September 2019 to shareholders who are on the register of members at 16 August 2019. The final dividend is not reflected in the balance sheet at 31 March 2019 as it remains subject to shareholder approval.

 

 

6)         Earnings per share

Earnings per share is calculated as follows:

 

2019

£000

 

                   2018

                   £000

 

Earnings for the purposes of basic earnings per share being net profit attributable to equity holders of the parent company

20,162

                 18,146

 

 

 

Earnings for the purposes of underlying basic earnings per share being underlying net profit attributable to equity holders of the parent company

20,162

                 19,127

 

 

 

Number of shares

                 Number

                Number

 

 

 

Weighted average number of ordinary shares for the purposes of basic earnings per share

303,092,067

         299,682,810

Effect of dilutive potential ordinary shares

3,170,237

             4,520,463

 

 

 

Weighted average number of ordinary shares for the purposes of diluted earnings per share

306,262,304

         304,203,273

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings per share

6.65p

                    6.05p

Underlying basic earnings per share

6.65p

                    6.38p

Diluted earnings per share

6.58p

                    5.97p

Underlying diluted earnings per share

6.58p

                    6.29p

 

 

 

7)         Net cash flow from operating activities

 

 

                    2019

                    £000

 

                    2018

                    £000

 

Operating profit from continuing operations

                  24,906

                  22,415

Adjustments:

 

 

Depreciation of property, plant and equipment

                   3,649

                   3,656

Gain on disposal of other property, plant and equipment

                     (129)

                     (590)

Amortisation of intangible assets

                      103

                   1,471

Movements in pension scheme

                     (978)

                     (560)

Share of results of JVs and associates

                  (1,650)

                     (882)

Share-based payments

                       (66)

                   1,168

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating cash flows before movements

in working capital

                  25,835

                  26,678

Decrease / (increase) in inventories

                      731

                  (1,896)

(Increase) / decrease in receivables

                  (1,969)

                  10,064

Decrease in payables

                  (6,625)

                 (11,897)

 

 

 

Cash generated from operations

                  17,972

                  22,949

Tax paid

                  (3,356)

                  (3,910)

Net cash flow from operating activities

                  14,616

                  19,039

 

 

8)         Net funds
 

The Group's net funds are as follows:

 

                    2019

                    £000

 

                    2018

                    £000

 

Cash and cash equivalents

                  24,979

                  33,114

Unamortised debt arrangement fees

                      226

                        83

Financial liabilities - finance leases

                       (49)

                     (229)

Net funds

                  25,156

                  32,968

 

 

9)         Contingent liabilities
 

Liabilities have been recorded for the directors' best estimate of uncertain contract positions, known legal claims, investigations and legal actions in progress. The Group takes legal advice as to the likelihood of the success of claims and actions and no liability is recorded where the directors consider, based on that advice, that the action is unlikely to succeed, or that the Group cannot make a sufficiently reliable estimate of the potential obligation. The Group also has contingent liabilities in respect of other issues that may have occurred, but where no legal or contractual claim has been made and it is not possible to reliably estimate the potential obligation.
 

Information for shareholders

 

§      The shares will be marked ex-dividend on 15 August 2019.

 

§       The final dividend will be paid on 13 September 2019 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 16 August 2019. Dividend warrants/vouchers will be posted on 11 September 2019.

 

§     The 2019 annual report and financial statements together with the notice of the annual general meeting will be posted to shareholders in July 2019.

 

§      The annual general meeting will be held on 3 September 2019 at Aldwark Manor Hotel, Aldwark, York, YO61 1UF.

 

 

Principal risks and uncertainties

 

The board has carried out a robust assessment of the principal risks and uncertainties which have the potential to impact the Group's profitability and ability to achieve its strategic objectives. This list is not intended to be exhaustive. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to management or deemed to be less significant at the date of this report may also have the potential to have an adverse effect on the Group. Risk management processes are put in place to assess, manage and control these on an ongoing basis. Our principal risks are set out below:

 

Health and safety

Description

The Group works on significant, complex and potentially hazardous projects, which require continuous monitoring and management of health and safety risks. Ineffective governance over and management of these risks could result in serious injury, death and damage to property or equipment.

 

Impact

A serious health and safety incident could lead to the potential for legal proceedings, regulatory intervention, project delays, potential loss of reputation and ultimately exclusion from future business. Continued changes in legislation can result in increased risks to both individuals and the Group.

 

Mitigation

§ Established safety systems, site visits, safety audits, monitoring and reporting, and detailed health and safety policies and procedures are in place across the Group, all of which focus on prevention and risk reduction and elimination.

§ Thorough and regular employee training programmes.

§ Director-led safety leadership teams established to bring innovative solutions and to engage with all stakeholders to deliver continuous improvement in standards across the business and wider industry.

§ Close monitoring of subcontractor safety performance.

§ Priority board review of ongoing performance and in depth review of both high potential and reportable incidents.

§ Regular reporting of, and investigation and root cause analysis of accidents and near misses.

§ Behavioural safety cultural change programme.

§ Occupational health programme including mental health.

§ Achievement of challenging health and safety performance targets is a key element of management and staff remuneration.

Commercial and market environment

Description

Changes in government and client spending or other external factors could lead to programme and contract delays or cancellations, or changes in market growth. External factors include national or market trends, political or regulatory change (including the UK's exit from the EU). Although the wider implications of Brexit are difficult to predict, an unfavourable Brexit outcome could adversely impact investor and customer confidence.

 

Lower than anticipated demand could result in increased competition, tighter margins and the transfer of commercial, technical and financial risk down the supply chain, through more demanding contract terms and longer payment cycles.

 

Impact

A significant fall in construction activity and higher costs could adversely impact revenues, profits, ability to recover overheads and cash generation.

 

 

Mitigation

§ The Group closely monitors Brexit developments and specific risks and related mitigations are kept under review by the executive committee. We have taken steps to prepare for the various potential outcomes of Brexit and have plans in place to ensure we can continue to deliver on current and future contractual commitments.

§ Regular reviews of market trends performed (as part of the Group's annual strategic planning and market review process) to ensure actual and anticipated impacts from macroeconomic risks are minimised and managed effectively.

§ Regular monitoring and reporting of financial performance, orders secured, prospects and the conversion rate of the pipeline of opportunities and marshalling of market opportunities is undertaken on a co-ordinated Group-wide basis.

§ Selection of opportunities that will provide sustainable margins and repeat business.

§ Strategic planning is undertaken to identify and focus on the addressable market (including new overseas and domestic opportunities).

§ Development of a pipeline of opportunities in continental Europe and in the Republic of Ireland, supported by our new European business.

§ Maintenance and establishment of supply chain capacity in mainland Europe.

§ Close management of capital investment and focus on maximising asset utilisation to ensure alignment of our capacity and volume demand from clients.

§ Close engagement with both customers and suppliers and monitoring of payment cycles.

§ Ongoing assessment of financial solvency and strength of counterparties throughout the life of contracts.

§ Continuing use of credit insurance to minimise impact of customer failure.

§ Strong cash position supports the business through fluctuations in the economic conditions of the sector.

Information technology resilience

Description

Technology failure, cyber-attack or property damage could lead to IT disruption with resultant loss of data, loss of system functionality and business interruption. The Group's core IT systems must be managed effectively, to avoid interruptions, keep pace with new technologies and respond to threats to data and security.

 

Impact

Prolonged or major failure of IT systems could result in business interruption, financial losses, loss of confidential data, negative reputational impact and breaches of regulations. If the Group fails to invest in its IT systems, it will ultimately be unable to meet the future needs of the business and fulfil its strategy.

Mitigation

§ IT is the responsibility of a central function which manages the majority of the systems across the Group. Other IT systems are managed locally by experienced IT personnel.

§ Significant investments in IT systems which are subject to board approval, including anti-virus software, off-site and on-site backups, storage area networks, software maintenance agreements and virtualisation of the IT environment.

§ Specific software has been acquired to combat the risk of ransomware attacks.

§ Group IT committee ensures focused strategic development and resolution of issues impacting the Group's technology environment.

§ Robust business continuity plans are in place and disaster recovery and penetration testing are undertaken on a systematic basis.

§ Data protection and information security policies are in place across the Group and have been updated for GDPR.

§ Cybercrimes and associated IT risks are assessed on a continual basis and additional technological safeguards introduced. Cyber threats and how they manifest themselves are communicated regularly to all employees (including practical guidance on how to respond to perceived risks).

§ ISO 27001 accreditation achieved for the Group's information security environment and regular employee engagement undertaken to reinforce key messages.

§ Insurance covers certain losses and is reviewed annually to establish further opportunities for affordable risk transfer with revised cover being purchased in 2019 to reduce the financial impact of this risk.

Mispricing a contract (at tender)

Description

Failure to accurately estimate and evaluate the contract risks, costs to complete, contract duration and the impact of price increases could result in a contract being mispriced. Execution failure on a high-profile contract could result in reputational damage.

 

Impact

If a contract is incorrectly priced, particularly on complex contracts, this could lead to loss of profitability, adverse business performance and missed performance targets. This could also damage relationships with clients and the supply chain.

 

Mitigation

§ Improved contract selectivity (those that are right for the business and which match our risk appetite) has de-risked the order book and reduced the probability of poor contract execution.

§ Estimating processes are in place with approvals by appropriate levels of management.

§ Tender settlement processes are in place to give senior management regular visibility of major tenders.

§ Use of the tender review process to mitigate the impact of rising supply chain costs.

§ Work performed under minimum standard terms (to mitigate onerous contract terms) where possible.

§ Use of Group authorisation policy to ensure appropriate contract tendering and acceptance.

§ Adoption of new Group-wide project risk management framework ('PRMF') brings greater consistency and embeds good practice in identifying and managing contract risk.

§ Professional indemnity cover is in place to provide further safeguards.

Failure to mitigate onerous contract terms

Description

The Group's revenue is derived from construction contracts and related assets. Given the highly competitive environment in which we operate, contract terms need to reflect the risks arising from the nature or the work to be performed. Failure to appropriately assess those contractual terms or the acceptance of a contract with unfavourable terms could, unless properly mitigated, result in poor contract delivery, poor understanding of contract risks and legal disputes.

 

Impact

Loss of profitability on contracts as costs incurred may not be recovered and potential reputational damage for the Group.

 

Mitigation

§ The Group has identified minimum standard terms which mitigate contract risk.

§ Robust tendering process with detailed legal and commercial review and approval of proposed contractual terms at a senior level (including the risk committee) are required before contract acceptance so that onerous terms are challenged, removed or mitigated as appropriate.

§ Regular contract audits are performed to ensure contract acceptance and approval procedures have been adhered to.

§ We have worked with the British Constructional Steelwork Association to raise awareness of onerous terms across the industry.

§ Through regular project reviews we capture early those occasions where onerous terms could have an adverse impact and are able to implement appropriate mitigating action at the earliest stage.

 

 

Supply chain

Description

The Group is reliant on certain key supply chain partners for the successful operational delivery of contracts to meet client expectations. The failure of a key supplier or a breakdown in relationships with a key supplier could result in some short-term delay and disruption to the Group's operations. There is also a risk that credit checks undertaken in the past may no longer be valid.

Impact

Interruption of supply or poor performance by a supply chain partner, including British Steel, could impact the Group's execution of existing contracts (including the costs of finding a replacement), its ability to bid for future contracts and its reputation, thereby adversely impacting financial performance.

Mitigation

§ Initiatives are in place to select supply chain partners that match our expectations in terms of quality, sustainability and commitment to client service. New sources of supply are quality controlled.

§ Implementation of best practice improvement initiatives including automated supplier accreditation processes.

§ Strong relationships maintained with key suppliers including a programme of regular meetings and reviews.

§ Contingency plans developed to address supplier and subcontractor failure (whilst our current steel supply from British Steel remains uninterrupted we have contingency plans in place to deal with the wide range of potential outcomes associated with the ongoing liquidation process being conducted by the Official Receiver).

§ Ongoing reassessment of the strategic value of supply relationships and the potential to utilise alternative arrangements, in particular for steel supply.

§ Key supplier audits are performed within projects to ensure they are in a position to deliver consistently against requirements.

§ Monthly review process to facilitate early warning of issues and subsequent mitigation strategies.

Indian joint venture

Description

The growth, effective management and performance of our Indian joint venture ('JSSL') is a key element of the Group's overall strategy. The factory in Bellary is currently being expanded to meet these market developments.

 

The Indian market has continued to expand rapidly and we are now seeing clear signs of the conversion of the market from concrete to steel, which is required to drive long term value in the business.

 

Impact

Failure to effectively manage our expanding operations in India could lead to financial loss, reputational damage and a drain on cash resources to fund the operations.

 

Mitigation

§ Robust joint venture agreement and strong governance structure is in place.

§ In 2019, senior management team strengthened, subcontracting capability expanded and workforce upskilled to support expanded operations.

§ Regular schedule of annual visits to India by UK executive and senior management to review operations and ensure appropriate oversight.

§ Two members of the Group's board of directors are members of the joint venture board and succession planning was undertaken effectively in 2019.

§ Regular formal and informal meetings held with both joint venture management and joint venture partners.

§ Contract risk assessment, engagement and execution process now embedded in the joint venture.

§ Market and operational plan now implemented and overhead reduction and operational improvement programmes remain ongoing.

§ Close monitoring of cash flow and debt repayments.

§ Ongoing review of controls environment and risk management processes undertaken by Group senior management.

People

Description

The ability to identify, attract, develop and retain talent is crucial to satisfy the current and future needs of the business. Skills shortages in the construction industry are likely to remain an issue for the foreseeable future and it can become increasingly difficult to recruit capable people and retain key employees, especially those targeted by competitors.

 

Impact

Loss of key people could adversely impact the Group's existing market position and reputation. Insufficient growth and development of its people and skill sets could adversely affect its ability to deliver its strategic objectives.

 

A high level of staff turnover or low employee engagement could result in a decrease of confidence in the business within the market, customer relationships being lost and an inability to focus on business improvements.

 

Mitigation

§ HR team strengthened in 2019 and the Group's people strategy is currently being refreshed.

§ Recruitment of specialist recruitment resource within the team to review, revise and improve our HR practices.

§ Second wave of our Severfield Development Programme launched in 2019.

§ Annual appraisal process providing two-way feedback on performance.

§ Attractive remuneration packages benchmarked, where possible.

§ Graduate, trainee and apprenticeship schemes in place to safeguard an inflow of new talent.

§ Internal communications improved in 2019.

 


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Results for the year ended 31 March 2019 - RNS