Laing O’Rourke is confidently looking forward to 2021 after reporting increased profits for 2019/20, and is currently performing in line with its latest business plan despite the impacts of Covid-19.
Its annual report for the year to 31 March 2020 revealed that group statutory profit before interest and tax increased to £72.9m (FY19 £47.2m) despite lower revenue of £3.0bn (FY19 £3.3bn).
Group profit before tax of £45.5m saw a fourth consecutive year of improvement, and profit margins rose to 10.4% (FY19 7.7%).
The group generated a net cash improvement of £22.3m and finished the year with net cash of £155.2m. At the year-end, the group had an order book of £8.2bn.
Looking ahead, the business says it has has insulated its operations against Brexit via detailed scenario and contingency planning, with mitigation plans for talent and skills retention, labour availability, and plant and equipment imports.
And, in an update for quarter three of the FY21 trading year, Laing O’Rourke has also confirmed that the group has continued to make solid progress in delivering its strategic targets despite the impact of Covid-19 and is currently performing in line with its latest business plan.
The company also says its UK cash position continues to perform strongly and is outperforming its latest business plan forecast. Group net cash at the end of November was £161m.
The group says it has continued to convert its strong pipeline throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and continued conversion of this pipeline is the board’s main priority for the remainder of the current financial year.
Looking further ahead, the group has c.98% of forecast FY21 revenue secured or anticipated and c.75% of FY22 revenue either secured, anticipated or at preferred bidder stage.
Ray O’Rourke, Laing O’Rourke CEO, said: “As we end 2020, our collective experience, coupled with a relentless focus on leading change in the sector, positions us to confidently face the post Covid, post-Brexit scenarios. While there are still challenges in the market, we remain committed to the changes necessary to transform our business and lead a more productive, safe and resilient construction industry.”
Group chairman Sir John Parker said: “The industry probably has the best opportunities it has seen for the last 50 years, given government commitments in Australia and the UK to transform infrastructure investment. Their targets are in sectors – healthcare, education, energy and transport infrastructure – where Laing O’Rourke has a sustained experience and record of success.”
Rowan Baker, chief financial officer, said: “It is a pleasure to present my first annual report as Laing O’Rourke CFO. The FY20 performance and our progress already in FY21 show the resilience of our operating model during times of volatility. It also gives us a high level of confidence that the next refinancing process will be conducted well ahead of the target date of 31 December 2021.”