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Cyril Sweett reports H1 loss as restructure continues

Construction and property consultancy Cyril Sweett made a £0.2m pre tax loss in the six months to 30 September.

Turnover was up to £36.1m, compared with £35m in the first half of the year, but the company sustained a £0.2m pre tax loss, compared with a £1.3m pre tax profit in the same period last year. Net debt was at £10.8m, up from £5m.

The interim results come after the company’s chairman warned in September that a difficult first half of the year means it will undertake a restructuring to make an administrative cost saving of between eight and 10 per cent, and that a “very small number” of its 450 UK-based staff are facing redundancy or relocation.

The company said today that the restructuring is expected to deliver £2m from 1 April 2012.

Chief executive Dean Webster said:  “The first half of the year was characterised by difficult market conditions. This has not stopped us from investing in the further expansion of our business, in particular across the Asia Pacific region.”

He added:  “Whilst our markets remain fiercely competitive, improved trading in our core services, combined with opportunities to recycle some of our public private partnership investments, means we remain on track to deliver on our current expectations for the full year.”

Revenue included £7.3m in commercial, £4.5m in retail and £6.9m in health, including NHS Trusts and the London Clinic. Other projects have included the London Eye refurbishment project and the Shangri-La hotel at The Shard.

The order book is at a record £91m – a 17 per cent increase year on year – with £41m in Europe, £45m in Asia and the rest in Middle East, Africa and India.

Mr Webster said this is down to increased bidding activity in Europe and the success of the strategy to expand across the Asia Pacific region.

Staff numbers are up from 350 to 550 with the opening of new offices in mainland China, together with Thailand and Vietnam. Cyril Sweett employs 1,200 staff across 50 offices in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Asia Pacific and Australia.

In July, the company said its European division - comprising the UK, Ireland, Spain and France and accounting for 61.3 per cent of group revenues – saw a £6.7m fall in revenue and a £900,000 dip in profits, down to £2.6m.

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