17 February 2010

New Zealand’s largest infrastructure consultancy provider, Opus International Consultants (Opus) has reported another good year.

“2009 was a challenging but ultimately successful year for Opus in spite of the serious recession in many economies,” says Opus’ Chairman, Kerry McDonald.  “Reflecting the recession, revenue of $367.8 million was down 1% on the prior year, but Opus achieved EBIT growth of 5.3% to $25.3 million and Net Profit After Tax growth of 6.3% to $18.6 million.”

Our New Zealand operations reported a strong EBIT profit of $28.8 million, supported by our Australian and Canadian operations who reported EBIT profits of $1.6 million and $1.1 million respectively. Our UK operations reported a break-even result in the second half of the year, resulting in an EBIT loss of $6.6 million for the full year. Return on Equity for the 2009 year was 24.9%, down slightly on 26.0% for 2008.

It is pleasing to see the ranking of Opus against those listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. In 2008 we were 28th for revenue and NPAT, 10th on return on assets, and 4th on return on equity.

A very difficult first quarter produced a significant loss and Opus responded early in the year with a range of measures, tailored to the various circumstances in different parts of the company. Marketing and cost management were intensified and some staff reductions were initiated, these being mainly in the UK, but also in New Zealand and Australia. Reduced working hours and reduced salaries were introduced in some cases and remuneration increases at all levels were made wholly or substantially conditional on the achievement of performance targets. In addition, cross region resource sharing, which has always been a strength of Opus’ operation, was further increased.

Mr McDonald says: “These astute, well managed measures were successful and while there was some market improvement through the year, they were primarily responsible for a significantly better result than in 2008. Most employees achieved a normal increase in remuneration. The redundancies are regretted but they were minimised by the acceptance of flexible working arrangements and added performance conditions for remuneration increases.”

The strong operating performance, along with prudent management of our working capital and assets, has helped improve the company’s net cash position by $26.3 million to a very healthy $40 million. Cash flows from operating activities of $38.6 million improved by $13.9 million from the previous year.

“With the strong operating performance and improved net cash position, we are pleased to announce a Final Dividend of 4.1 cents per share, which is fully imputed,” said Mr McDonald. “This brings the total Dividend for the year to 6.7 cents per share, which is an increase of 1.0 cent per share from 2008.”

“There are undoubtedly still challenges ahead for the different parts of the business, particularly in the UK given its economic situation,” says Mr McDonald. “The 2009 performance, however, underlined the company’s ability to respond and meet the challenge, and it’s potential to benefit in future from its ongoing continuous improvement activities remains strong.”

For further information please contact:

Dr Kevin Thompson
Chief Executive and Managing Director
Tel: 04 471 7022
Mob: 021 669 254