Interim Management Statement
07 November 2012
Trading on track to meet full year expectations. Cash flow good; balance sheet strong.
We remain on track to meet current market expectations for the full year. Group results for the first nine months were, as expected, well ahead of the same period in 2011. We continue to secure over two thirds of our fee income from the energy and energy infrastructure markets in which we have an excellent international profile and which remain generally buoyant.
As anticipated, this business continued to make strong progress in the second half, as a result of increasing investment by our clients in oil and gas E&P, as well as our high profile market presence. We benefitted from good levels of demand in many parts of the world, as well as for our independent advice in respect of transactions and asset valuations. Activity in the training business also continued at encouraging levels.
Our management team continues to deal with ongoing salary and fee rate pressures well; as a result our good margins have been sustained.
Prospects remain encouraging. Our activities are supported by the strong level of global E&P spend and assisted by the current high oil price. The US unconventional gas market remains subdued, although the liquids market has been good. Globally the unconventionals market continues to experience significant expansion. The high profile we have in a broad range of markets, combined with our geographical diversity, enables us to continue to take advantage of these favourable circumstances.
Built and Natural Environment
Australia Asia Pacific: results for 2012 continue to run well ahead of 2011. There has, however, been a change in client sentiment in the second half in respect of investment in the infrastructure necessary to deliver energy and mining projects. This resulted from a combination of lower levels of Asian demand for resources, escalating project costs and a trimming of growth in the economy. The consequent delay and postponement of some projects slowed our rate of growth in the third quarter. As this is continuing we are taking steps to improve the efficiency of this business, enabling us to remain well positioned in an industry which has excellent medium and long term prospects. As reported previously, we completed the acquisition of Manidis Roberts Pty Ltd in July. The integration of this business with our existing activities in New South Wales and Queensland is progressing well, with offices having already been merged in Sydney and imminently in Brisbane.
Europe: performance in the first nine months was also ahead of that experienced in 2011. Our businesses which assist clients to comply with environmental regulation continued to perform well, in markets which remain competitive and despite a reduction in spend from some of our UK water company clients. Continuing concerns about the economic outlook caused client commissioning in the private development sector to reduce in the summer months. There have only been limited signs of recovery since. Energy infrastructure projects remain important to the business, although the full potential of this market can only be realised once UK Energy policy is clarified.
Debt and Funding
Our conversion of profit into cash was again good and the Group balance sheet remains strong. Net bank debt at the end of September was £22.6 million (30 June 2012: £20.5 million), after investing £15.1 million during the quarter in the initial payment for Manidis Roberts and deferred consideration for prior acquisitions. Our revolving credit facility with Lloyds Banking Group was renewed in July; the new arrangement remains in place until July 2016. It comprises a £75 million committed facility, with an additional £50 million, available as required.
Brook Land, chairman, commented:
"RPS remains in a strong position financially and operationally. Our strategy of developing our activities in energy and energy infrastructure markets, which have been less affected by economic uncertainty, continues to be successful. As a result, the Group remains on course to meet market expectations for the full year."
7 November 2012
RPS is an international consultancy providing advice upon the development of natural resources, land and property, the management of the natural and built environments and the health and safety of people. We have offices in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United States, Canada and Australia Asia Pacific and undertake projects in many other parts of the world. The Group is a constituent of both the FTSE 250 and FTSE 4 Good Indices.
|RPS Group plc||Tel: 01235 863206|
|Dr Alan Hearne, Chief Executive|
|Gary Young, Finance Director|
|College Hill||Tel: 020 7457 2020|
This announcement contains certain forward-looking statements with respect to the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of RPS Group plc. These statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend upon circumstances that will occur in the future. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results or developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. The continuing uncertainty in global economic outlook inevitable increases the risks to which the Group is exposed. Statements in respect of the Group's performance in 2012 in the year to date are based upon unaudited management accounts for the period January to September 2012. The Board considers market expectations for 2012 are best defined by taking the range of forecasts of PBTA for the full year published by analysts who consistently follow the Group. The current range of forecasts of which the Board is aware is £57.9 to £60.3 million. Nothing in this announcement should be construed as a profit forecast.