2 February 2017 Matthew O'Driscoll

Opus International Consultants (Opus) reported a much improved second half performance for 2016 despite continuing difficult economic conditions in Canada and Australia, with Operating EBIT up from $2.5m in the first half to $17.7m for the full year.

The New Zealand business underpinned the Group performance with a record Operating EBIT up 47.6% on the first half and a full year Operating EBIT of $36.9m.

“Group revenue was $470.9m, down on prior year by 6.8% which was largely due to the Canadian geomatics business Opus Stewart Weir, which was hard hit by low oil prices and the resulting collapse in oil industry project work,” said Opus Chairman Kerry McDonald.

“However, early measures were taken to reduce costs and balance short term profitability with long term sustainability. As a result, Opus Stewart Weir went from a $5.1m trading loss in the first half to a profitable second half of $2m, excluding $4m in restructuring costs and property lease provisions.

“In Australia, we continued to trade at a loss.  During the year we closed five of our offices, leaving a network much more sharply tailored to current conditions, with restructuring costs of $1.1m.

“Given the difficult business environments with the decline in oil and gas prices and resource prices generally we reassessed the value of our operations and impaired the carrying value of Australian assets by $4.4m and Canadian assets by $33.2m,” said Mr McDonald.

Chief Executive Dr Prentice said business improvement activities around costs and clients remained a high priority, as the business transitions to its new strategy.

“Our new global strategy focuses on enhancing capability in proven areas of expertise, and better collaboration across the key global growth sectors of transportation, buildings, and water.

“We are increasing the effectiveness of our excellent talent and providing clients with integrated engineering and wider solutions, regardless of where they are located.  Our business structure has been realigned and enhanced with the appointment of new leaders to drive sustainable global growth and strengthen client delivery across all of our operations.

“Our UK business was named Company of the Year by New Civil Engineer (NCE) at the NCE100 awards. The business generated $62.1m revenue and $2.2m in Operating EBIT, a 6% decrease in Operating EBIT in local currency, reflecting the weakness in the GBP following the Brexit vote,” added Dr David Prentice.

Operating net cash of $14.4m supported a fully imputed final dividend of 2 cents, taking the full year dividend to 4 cents.