Weeks Group PLC
4 July 2000
Weeks Group Plc
The changes to the Group Board made during the financial year to 31 March
2000, which consisted of the appointment of Phillip Hill as Chief Executive,
Chris Slack as Head of WEEKS Laboratories and Richard Pugh as Head of WEEKS
Consulting, have resulted in a detailed review of the Company's operations and
future plans. The production and implementation of 1 year and 5 year Business
Plans has caused exceptional restructuring and rationalisation costs to be
I am pleased to report that, excluding these non-recurring costs of £173,000,
the pre-tax profits are £786,000 (1999: £665,000) which is 18% up on the
previous year, whilst the turnover has dropped 4% to £15,343,000 (£15,983,000)
as the Company has withdrawn from less profitable areas of the market place.
Your Directors recommend a final dividend of 0.078p per share, making a total
dividend for the year of 0.13p per share (1999: 0.11p per share), which
represents an increase of 18% on the previous year. This will be paid on 11
August 2000 to shareholders on the register on 21 July 2000.
We wish to thank all the staff for their support, commitment and hard work
through this period of significant change to the Company's Management and
Since the end of the financial year another acquisition has been completed
which will contribute to next years performance. We will continue to seek
other targets in line with our strategic goals at the same time as increasing
our trading relationships with blue chip clients in the buoyant construction
DR A G WEEKS
4th July 2000
Chief Executive's Review of Operations
Since my appointment in September of last year, we have undertaken a strategic
review of the business considering market requirements, client needs, our
market position, as well as a fundamental review of the market sectors we
operate in, the technical disciplines we provide and the regional locations
from which we provide our services.
This detailed review has enabled us to produce a comprehensive strategy for
the future growth of the Company and resulted in a re-organisation of the
Due to differing client needs and business drivers, we have identified two
operating divisions: 'WEEKS Consulting' and 'WEEKS Laboratories', and
restructured their management systems to suit their individual needs.
We have strengthened our Group Board by the addition of Chris Slack as Head of
Laboratories, who brings professional business and management skills.
Furthermore, we have rationalised the WEEKS Technical Services Board in order
to ensure more effective management of our professional and financial
performance, as well as our growth. We have built stronger management teams
in all our locations.
These management teams, and their senior staff working in tandem with the
Board, have created a vision for the future and developed a detailed business
plan for the coming year based on a focussed approach of managing day to day
Our five year business plan to satisfy the Group Board's Strategic goal of
sustained long term growth is now being implemented.
We have received considerable support for the restructuring from all our
directors and staff. The strategic review also covered cultural issues and we
have recognised the need to improve internal communication and offer staff
structured training plans as well as career advancement. I would like to
express my personal thanks to all our staff for their support through the
restructuring and for their contribution towards our vision and strategy for
One the operational side of the business we have instigated tighter more
pro-active management control of our individual contracts and locations,
strengthened our finance department by the appointment of a Financial
Controller and placed greater emphasis on our debt collection decreasing our
borrowings by £1million.
I am pleased to report that our turnover for the year was £15.3million (1999:
£16.0 million) and excluding the £173,000 exceptional costs of re-structuring,
we have increased our underlying profitability to £786,000 (1999: £665,000)
Our strategic goal of playing a leading role in John Egan's initiative of
'Rethinking Construction' in terms of Partnering and long term relationships
has been rewarded by our 'Single Project Partnering Award' with Glaxo Wellcome
as well as signing a five year partnering agreement between WEEKS Laboratories
and Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA).
Other such open book and long term agreements have been secured and we will
continue to pursue these more rewarding and satisfying relationships which
deliver added value not only to our clients, but also to our own business and
WEEKS CONSULTING - representing approximately 60% of turnover
The business is currently structured and managed by specialist technical
disciplines, however, our strategic review suggests a more client focussed
approach by market sector.
Our clients require comprehensive solutions to their development needs and
ideally single points of contact. Our multi-disciplinary approach, building
teams specialising in the needs of, and understanding the detailed
requirements of, market sectors such as Insurance, Waste Management,
Environmental & Safety Management, Research etc will secure our future growth.
The opening of a London office has been an ambition for many years and is now
realised. This consulting office in the heart of the West End opened in April
2000 to meet the needs of the commercial and retail property sectors.
The acquisition of Taurus Design in May 2000 to expand our infrastructure
capabilities particularly in the booming housing market provides considerable
opportunities for our environmental and geotechnical disciplines and adds
strength to our multi-disciplinary capability as well as our senior management
Pavements are any type of hard surface intended for vehicles including roads,
docksides and airfield runways.
The development of our first market sector business specifically addresses the
significant increase in maintenance spending in the UK on roads as well as
responding to international demand.
UK Subsidence Group (UKSG)
UKSG is another market sector based business dealing specifically with the
subsidence market. WEEKS Consulting is at the forefront of this venture with
three major insurance companies now signed up. WEEKS Laboratories are also
undertaking materials testing for UKSG.
WEEKS LABORATORIES - representing approximately 40% of turnover
Giving the business its own identity and management team directed by Chris
Slack has released a new energy and clear business thinking particular to the
very differing needs of this business and its clients. The formulation of a
strong management team based on regional areas of excellence has stabilised
some of our historically under performing laboratories and created an
opportunity for strategic growth.
Our vision to become 'The Testing House of Choice for the Construction
Industry' is well underway to being realised over the next few years.
RSA-WEEKS Strategic Alliance.
This five year open partnering arrangement with Royal & Sun Alliance for
nation wide materials testing related to subsidence has enabled us to re-open
our Manchester Laboratory in an area of considerable construction activity and
expand bespoke facilities in our Maidstone and Daventry Laboratories.
Sustainable Development/Recycled Materials
WEEKS Laboratories are playing an active role in the move towards sustainable
development by researching and testing recycled materials such as crushed
glass for use in construction and using our consultancy skills to develop
techniques for lime stabilisation of poor quality soils.
Detailed reviews of the business potential for e-commerce in the Laboratories
are ongoing. We are certainly one of the first test houses to issue results
direct to our clients using the Internet. We see this as a considerable
opportunity for improving the efficiency of our own business and establishing
more permanent links with our clients.
We have continued to undertake selected commissions overseas either through
our UK clients, CMW Polska in Poland or our joint venture in Oman. We are
looking to expand our operations in Poland to include WEEKS Consulting due to
the growing construction activity and environmental needs as well as
continuing to maintain our involvement in the on-going major roads programme.
OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE
The restructuring of the Group and the production of our detailed Business
Plan have stabilised the business and laid the foundations for continued
growth and development in the years ahead. A clear vision of the real and
achievable potential of the company has been established by the management
We will continue to develop innovative working agreements based on long term
professional relationships with both our clients and suppliers in order to
create added value and high quality earnings.
Our growth will be through organic means in selected buoyant sectors and
regions as well as by appropriate acquisition.
We will proactively review opportunities for diversification of the business
into international markets, non-construction related materials testing and
broaden the range of multi-disciplinary skills offered.
The opportunity to improve efficiencies of operations and provide our clients
with a more inter-active service via the use of e-commerce will continue as we
increasingly embrace this technology in partnership with our clients.
The WEEKS Group, its people, processes and finance, is now strategically
placed to build on its strong traditions and professional image to improve its
PHILLIP R HILL
4th July 2000
Consolidated Profit and Loss Account
for the year ended 31 March 2000
Exceptional Exceptional Total
items items Year to Year to
(Audited) (Audited) 31 March 31 March
£'000 £'000 £'000 £'000
Turnover - continuing operations 15,343 - 15,343 15,983
Cost of sales - continuing
operations (11,219) - (11,219) (12,159)
Gross profit 4,124 - 4,124 3,824
Administrative expenses (3,273) (173) (3,446) (3,049)
Operating profit - continuing
operations 851 (173) 678 775
Net interest payable (65) - (65) (110)
Profit on ordinary activities
before taxation 786 (173) 613 665
Tax on profit on ordinary activities (237) 52 (185) (234)
Profit for the financial year 549 (121) 428 431
Dividends (194) - (194) (157)
Retained profit for the financial year 355 (121) 234 274
Earnings per share
Basic 0.38p (0.08p) 0.30p 0.30p
Fully diluted 0.37p (0.08p) 0.29p 0.29p
Dividends per share 0.13p - 0.13p 0.11p
There is no difference between the profit on ordinary activities before
taxation and the retained profit for the financial year stated above, and
their historical cost equivalents.
Statement of Total Recognised Gains and Losses
for the year ended 31 March 2000
Year to Year to
31 March 31 March
Profit for the financial year 428 431
Currency translation differences on foreign currency
net investment (11) -
Total gains and losses in the year 417 431
as at 31 March 2000
Year to Year to Year to Year to
31 March 31 March 31 March 31 March
2000 1999 2000 1999
(Audited) (Audited) (Audited) (Audited)
£'000 £'000 £'000 £'000
Intangible assets 808 853 - -
Tangible assets 2,431 2,407 1,057 1,093
Investments 3 - 901 901
3,242 3,260 1,958 1,994
Stocks 785 1,407 - -
Debtors 3,876 4,216 2,047 1,885
Cash at bank and in hand 267 235 - -
4,928 5,858 2,047 1,885
Creditors: amounts falling due
within one year (2,829) (4,007) (1,156) (1,223)
Net current assets 2,099 1,851 891 662
Total assets less current
liabilities 5,341 5,111 2,849 2,656
Creditors: amounts falling due
after more than one year (43) (65) (2) (14)
Provisions for liabilities and
charges (7) (5) (2) -
5,291 5,041 2,845 2,642
Capital and reserves
Called up share capital 734 714 734 714
Share premium account 1,313 1,306 1,313 1,306
Profit and loss account 3,244 3,021 798 622
Equity shareholders' funds 5,291 5,041 2,845 2,642
1) The above results have been extracted from the audited accounts of The
Weeks Group Plc which have been prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers of
Maidstone, Kent. They do not represent statutory accounts as defined by
section 240 of the Companies Act 1985 (as amended). The statutory accounts
were adopted by the Board of directors on 4 July 2000 and will be filed with
the Registrar of Companies. They received an unqualified report which did not
contain a statement under section 237(2) or 237(3) of the Companies Act 1985
2) Earnings per share
Basic earnings per share is calculated by dividing the earnings attributable
to ordinary shareholders by the weighted average number of ordinary shares in
issue during the year.
For diluted earnings per share, the average number of ordinary shares in issue
is adjusted to assume conversion of all dilutive potential ordinary shares.
The Group has only one category of dilutive potential ordinary shares; those
share options granted to employees where the exercise price is less than the
average market price of the Company's ordinary shares during the year.
Reconciliations of the earnings and weighted average number of shares used in
the calculations are set out below:
Earnings Weighted Weighted
number of Per-share number of Per-share
shares amount Earnings shares amount
£'000 Million Pence £'000 Million Pence
shareholders 428 144.7 0.30 431 142.9 0.30
Effect of dilutive
Options - 4.1 (0.01) - 7.0 (0.01)
Adjusted earnings 428 148.8 0.29 431 149.9 0.29
3) Copies of the annual Report & Accounts for the Company are being posted to
shareholders on the 4th July and may be obtained during the following fourteen
days, free of charge, from the Company's head office at The Oasts, Newnham
Court, Bearsted Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 5SH, or at the offices of the
Company's Nominated Adviser, Noble & Company Limited, 4th Floor, 1 Frederick's
Place, London, EC2R 8AB.
P B Griffith, Finance Director of The Weeks Group Plc - 01622 734633
C J J Barker, Noble & Company Limited - 020 7367 5600