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Sweett Group to expand UK team after revenue growth

Sweett Group said it will continue to expand its UK team after announcing nearly 18 per cent growth in revenue for the six months ended 30 September 2013.

Its interim management statement showed revenue of £44.4m for the six months, compared to £37.7m for the same period for 2012, of which 56 per cent came from its European operations.

Speaking with Construction News, Sweett Group chief executive Dean Webster said Europe was looking “really strong” for the group and the company would continue to grow its management team as a result.

The firm has increased staff numbers in the last year by 9.5 per cent globally to just over 1,500, with 6 per cent of that taking place in Europe, where 464 staff are currently employed.

Areas of focus for management expansion will include energy and infrastructure and the oil and gas sectors, the latter of which the group has been active in for one year.

Mr Webster added that the company would look to “start small and hopefully grow” in oil and gas, with a view of entering the frameworks of “major global providers” before the financial year end in March; but he said this was not set in stone.

Regionally, the company will continue with its renewed focus on the north of England, where it recently appointed a new head of operations.

Mr Webster added that he was seeing a “return of confidence from some of the major developers” in the region, as well as in Scotland.   

In energy and infrastructure, the chief executive highlighted the team’s involvement in the UK’s new nuclear power station plans at Hinkley Point C and said his group would expect to “ramp up” efforts as and when the project was given the green light.

Sweett Group’s adjusted profit before tax rose to £3.5m for the period, compared to £2.1m for H1 2013. Pre-tax profit was £2.8m compared to £1.6m after administrative costs were taken into account.

The board declared an increased interim dividend from 0.3 pence per share for H1 2013, to 0.5 pence, which Mr Webster said: “if you want a sign from the board as to our confidence going forward I think that’s probably as good as you’re going to get today”.

The group has also renegotiated its global banking facilities, remaining with the Lloyds Group in Europe and moving to HSBC overseas. Mr Webster added that this would enable a “platform of growth overseas” through long term finance loans.

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