Delays will hit profits, warns consultancy group

Profits down

Driver Group, the global professional services consultancy to the construction and engineering industries which has offices in Haslingden and Liverpool, today issued a profits warning.

The business, which provides multi-disciplinary consultancy services including expert witness, claims and dispute resolution services, was updating the market for the first time since announcing its annual financial results in December last year.

It said in a trading update this morning that, despite making good progress, owing to a slowing in the speed of client conversion, in particular in the Middle East and South-East Asian markets as a consequence of local market conditions, the cumulative trading result is now behind the board’s expectations for the current period and the board’s judgement is that the shortfall is unlikely to be recovered in the second half.

As a result, the board now anticipates full year underlying profits before taxation to be slightly below the 2017/18 result, at approximately £3.5m.

Today’s statemeht said the company continues to perform well across markets, regions and sectors.

It continues to enjoy great success with its Diales brand and in the recruitment of high quality experts and commissions.

The Company’s new business enquiry pipeline is at an historically high level, and is approximately 20% higher year-on-year when compared with the corresponding period in 2017-18.

Moreover, good quality enquiries are coming into the business across all sectors and regions.

It said the company’s recently reinstated, progressive dividend policy remains unaffected, underpinned by current cash balances of approximately £5.1m.

THE Group’s plans for further strategic growth and development are also unaltered, it said.

“The company continues to develop world-leading, proprietary AI technologies to enhance client fulfilment, increase margin and strengthen its global competitive market positioning.

“The company is also close to finalising a wider range of initiatives and structures designed to enhance its operational efficiency, lower its cost base and improve cash collection, in order to further cement the company’s position as a leading global player,” it added.

Chief executive Gordon Wilkinson said: “Driver Group continues to make good progress across markets and sectors.

“It is frustrating to report that a number of expert witness/dispute projects that were expected to convert in H1 2018-19 have been temporarily delayed or deferred, particularly as our new business pipeline is at historically high levels.

“There are significant opportunities for Driver Group in the second half of the financial year, and I am confident that we will make good progress in converting these leads, based on our proven track record of prudent business planning and management, our exceptional team of professional services experts, and our specialist understanding of sectors, markets and issues.”

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