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WYG cuts a further 200 jobs to get in shape as 'new company'

Directors say staff numbers at consultancy now “stable” after dropping from 3,700 to 1,450 between 2008 and 2012.

WYG has been forced to cut another 200 jobs in the year it laid the platform for growth as a “new company”.

The consultancy posted an operating loss of £3.5 million on £139m of revenue in the year to 31 March 2012, compared with £0.1m and £121.5m in the nine months to 31 March 2011.

WYG was worst hit in the UK and Ireland, which represents 56 per cent of revenue at £79m, and suffered a £4.7m operating loss.

It paid out £3.4m in redundancy costs and £5.3m in office closure costs in the year.

Chief executive Paul Hamer and group finance director Sean Cummins told CN that this translated into about 200 jobs in UK and Ireland – taking the workforce down to 1,450 – and the closure of more than 50 offices. Many of those offices were merged, for example in Manchester three offices were condensed down to one.

Mr Hamer – CEO since March 2009 – said the company had reduced its service offering from 26 different services to seven to get in the “right shape” for the UK climate.

The CEO and FD said staff levels were expected to remain stable in the coming year, and potentially increase overseas in places such as the middle east. WYG has just won a two-year MoD CEST contract to support infrastructure work for the UK forces and authorities in Afghanistan.

Mr Hamer said this morning:  “The first year of the ‘new WYG’ has been a year of tremendous change and I am pleased to report that we have delivered a financial performance consistent with management’s expectations at the time of the placing in July 2011.”

WYG has also focused on strengthening its balance sheet, with a capital restructuring in July that included a placing to raise £30m net of expenses and converting £51m of the group’s net debt into shares. The second half of the year saw a 65 per cent reduction in operating losses compared with H1.

Mr Cummins – who joined in December last year following the resignation of David Wilton – said the company has now transformed from the old White Young Green days. Part of this is a focus on its cost legacy programme in the coming two years, focusing on IT and property savings, and one central area, professional indemnity insurance.

Mr Cummins said the company has pulled back from higher risk design work, which had previously led to claims costing from £6m to £10m each year, down to nil this year. The group FD said this will also translate to the PII rate, once the insurance company has had time to “get used” to the new business model.

WYG said UK trading environment is more stable, with improvements in certain UK public and private spending activity.

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