The results covering the first six months of the year up to June 30, 2008 show major transport infrastructure contracts and international projects have boosted revenues, but other sectors – including Environment and Energy - have also been helped by the group’s efforts to diversify.
Overall the results before exceptional items showed revenue for the period rose by 40 per cent from £259.8 million at the same time in 2007 to £363.5mill, while profit before tax was up 43 per cent from £16.1mill to £23mill.
Within the Environment and Energy sector revenue was up 20.4 per cent to £46.5mill and profit rose by 22.2 per cent to £3.3mill.
The report covering this sector said: “Our business continues to benefit from the introduction and enforcement of legislation and the societal shift towards a low carbon market.
“We have experienced a steady start to the year but have seen good organic growth and a slight increase in overall margins which is encouraging for the second half.
'Due diligence work, which is dependent on a buoyant transaction market has slowed, but this has been replaced by significant work from the introduction in the UK of the energy performance certificate (EPC) requiring all commercial buildings to be reviewed and, potentially, upgraded.'
WSP is also seeing substantial growth in the Middle East market. The report said: “In the Middle East we are very pleased to have been appointed to develop the Green Building Codes for Dubai, which reflects the Emirate’s commitment to introduce strong environmental performance to the design and development of their urban space.”
Within the property sector WSP admitted that the UK and United States markets in some areas were weakening, but said it was determined to develop new opportunities to counterbalance this.
Despite the uncertainty around the property market the group still saw revenue grow by 20.6 per cent on last year to £155.1mill and profits soar by 36.4 per cent to £11.6mill.
The report said: “In the UK and the USA we are expecting some markets to weaken and we are likely to see a change in the mix of projects both in sector and region. However, we are particularly focused on developing and maximising the complementary opportunities deriving from our international capability given our unique global coverage.”
But, added: “In this segment we have experienced an increase in revenue across the Group with a general overall improvement in operating margins.
“Of particular note is the performance in Mainland Europe, helped by the strength of the European currencies and the rapid advance in their operating margin, and in the extensive
Middle East where we have delivered revenue growth of 40 per cent.'
The board said in a statement: “Our strategy of diversification across many different sectors and regions has enabled WSP to continue to deliver outstanding financial results,
“With strong organic revenue growth and an order book at June of £1.2bn (December 2007: £0.9bn) we are able to demonstrate our considerable progress so far this year.
“The order book has benefited from significant public sector transport framework contracts together with major international project awards particularly in the wider Middle East region.
“We are in the fourth year of our 5 year Strategic Plan and the results announced today demonstrate that we are ahead of our published headline financial targets of 15 per cent annual revenue growth and 0.5 per cent operating profit margin improvement each year.
“We remain on course to continue to deliver our Plan for the remainder of 2008 and 2009.”