Turner & Townsend is unlikely to be a target for takeover in a market where the “big buys are companies in distress”, according to its UK managing director.
Speaking to CN after the construction consultancy reported a surge in turnover and profits, Steve McGuckin said: “Non UK investors are looking for bargains… the reality is that the big buys are the companies in distress. We have got no debt, we don’t have to sell to service any debt, and we are a growing company.”
Mr McGuckin also said there are benefits to staying private. T&T aborted a proposed float in 2008 because of turbulent financial markets.
“If we want to allow profits to slip a bit to invest, that’s our decision, rather than having someone saying ‘where’s our return?’,” he said.
However, Mr McGuckin said the consultant’s strategy is to float on the market at initial public offering, but that it is likely to be “a number of years away”. He said all options are open, including floating just part of the company.
Preliminary results for the year to 30 April 2012 saw T&T’s turnover at £244.3m, up from £204.3m the previous year, with pre-tax profit up to £23m, against £15.7m in 2011. UK revenue grew by 6 per cent to £113.5m, with £11.9m in pre-tax profits.
For the first time, the UK accounted for less than half the global total, with 54 per cent of revenue coming from other territories and an increased capacity in Asia and South America.
Mr McGuckin said T&T has “not had to have the clear out others have had” as the strategy focused on diversifying sectors over the last 10 years.
The UK MD said his target is “for steady growth” of five per cent, with a focus on rail following a government funding commitment, a commercial sector that is “coming back”, a ‘huge opportunity’ in nuclear, and a continued presence in education.
T&T has won work in London on Crossrail, the Shard and the Olympics, while other major wins include the decommissioning of ten Magnox nuclear power stations in the UK.