Driver Group plc (AIM: DRV), the leading global professional services consultancy to the construction and engineering industries, providing multi-disciplinary consultancy services including expert witness, claims and dispute resolution services, today announces the following operational update on its activities.
Since January 2020 Driver Group has been managing the impact of Covid-19 on the business and by adopting a flexible home working model has continued to service its clients effectively and sustainably with the minimum of business interruption. Activity levels overall have been broadly consistent with those achieved in the first half, with a strong performance in the UK and Europe offset by a weaker result in the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions. As a result, the Board expects in the absence of unforeseen circumstances to report underlying* PBT for the financial year of approximately £2.5m. Cash conversion has been particularly strong in recent months resulting in a healthy net cash balance on 30 September 2020 of £8.2m.
The business continues to implement the strategic review initiated upon Mark Wheeler's appointment as Chief Executive Officer in June 2020. Key developments during the period have been:
· The opening of a new office in New York in August, supported by two leading resident experts, which both enhances the Company's ability to service its clients in North America and provides improved access to the important South American markets; and
· The formation in September of a strategic partnership with Africa's leading claims and dispute resolution consultancy which will provide improved access to the African market.
As part of the strategic review Driver Group has also restructured its Middle East and Asia Pacific (APAC) operations to meet the changing business demands in those regions. Stefan Panourgias, who previously headed the Group's Qatar operations will now lead the Middle East region. Driver Group has taken the opportunity to restructure and scale back its presence in APAC following the departure of two senior members of its Singapore office; the APAC region will now be led by Alasdair Snadden who currently heads the Company's operations in Singapore.
Mark Wheeler, CEO of Driver Group, said:
"I am pleased to be able to report that Driver Group has performed well during the year and has managed the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure the business remained profitable and cash generative throughout the year in spite of a reduced level of activity. I am confident that the reduced cost base and renewed focus on our core business of higher margin expert witness and dispute resolution in both APAC and the Middle East will deliver improved operating performance. Alasdair and Stefan have proven track records in our business and I look forward to working with them and with our new colleagues in our operations in America and South Africa over the next few years to deliver significant progress. "