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WSP - Overview and financial analysis

The firm has multi-disciplinary capabilities and offers fully-integrated teams. It has offices in over 35 countries worldwide and works in more than 60 countries, employing around 10,000 staff.

Established in the UK in the 1970s, WSP’s shares have been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1987. Today, under chairman David Carter and chief executive Chris Cole, it is one of the world’s largest international consultancy groups, providing a full range of services from planning through to design, implementation and maintenance.

In 2008, the UK and Europe accounted for 36% and 30% of group revenues respectively, the US around 16%, and a further 18% was spread across Australia, Asia, India and the Middle East. The firm’s main markets by revenue in 2008 were: property 48%, transport & infrastructure 26%, environment & energy 13% and management and industrial 13%.

In recent years, new businesses have been started or acquired in Europe, the Middle East, USA, Australia, Germany, and India, and skills such as industrial process engineering, coastal marine engineering and management consulting have been added. The firm plans to resume acquisitive growth when markets stabilise.

However, in the face of difficult private sector markets, in July 2009, the firm reported a sharp fall in pre-tax profits to £17.2 million in the six months ending in June, from £28.4 million previously, after it incurred heavy restructuring costs of £4.1 million as it slimmed down its workforce in the UK and Middle East, particularly in Dubai.

According to the most recent NCE Consultants File WSP earned fees of £668m and employed 7,929 technical staff.

£ million2006200720082009
Gross Profit101.8118.5154.3211.6
Profit before tax19.826.437.952.1
Profit after tax14.019.226.836.7
Net assets82.794.1125.4187.6
Net cash from operating activities23.723.440.236.3