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Sweett hails UK recovery as order book grows

Sweett Group has hailed a “powerful recovery” in the UK as it reported an 11 per cent increase in turnover and a record order book worth £109m.

The firm’s turnover grew by almost 11 per cent to £89.4m in the year ended 31 March 2014, up from £80.6m in 2013.

Its pre-tax profit, including exceptional items, increased by 56 per cent to £2.8m in the year ended 31 March 2014, compared with £1.8m the previous year.

Pre-tax profits were boosted by £1.2m of income from Sweett’s sale of its interests in the Hub North PFI project and financial close of the Leeds Social Housing PFI project, and the renegotiation of bank facilities.

It also benefitted from £1m of credit from settling its financial exposure to Australian dollars.

Sweett incurred exceptional administrative expenses of £1.5m in 2014, as it did in 2013, including £978,000 in restructuring costs.

It also incurred £490,000 of exceptional administrative costs in association with investigating allegations made in the Wall Street Journal in June 2013 of improper business conduct by a former employee of Sweett operating in the Middle East.

Net debt was down 11 per cent to £6.3m in 2014, compared with £7.1m the previous year.

Sweett’s order book has grown by 9 per cent in value to £109m, compared with £100m at the same time in 2013.

The firm said there was “powerful recovery” in the UK market, with its move into the UK energy and infrastructure sectors paying off.

Its headcount increased by 10 per cent in the year to 1,535 employees, and Sweett said it is continuing to invest in staff.

Sweett chief executive Dean Webster said: “The group has performed strongly driven by a powerful recovery in the UK market, where we have gained market share.

“Our order book is at record levels and we are trading well with prospects for turnover and margin improvement being on track. As a provider of independent services with a solid global platform we relish the opportunities ahead of us as we see global economies strengthen.”

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