Consultant Scott Wilson has shown an 17.8% surge in turnover to £180.4M, and a 10% increase in adjusted profit to £12M for the 26 week period ending on 26 October according to the company's interim results, published today.
Speaking to NCE, Scott Wilson's chief executive Hugh Blackwood said the international appetite for infrastructure as part of national economic rescue plans were a huge opportunity:
"We have been facing a changing market for the last 12 months - the biggest was private sector property, which we have replaced. Public sector infrastructure investment will be maintained, and this will be good for us.
"It is the same in the US and China, and we can take advantage of this," he said. Growth in the international division was particularly strong, with operational profit increasing by 50% year-on-year.
Scott Wilson also revealed they will start a new joint venture in the Chinese city of Wuxi, their fourth such venture in the country, and this reflected: "Part of our long-term aspirations," in that country, he said.
Blackwood said continued investment in China and other overseas markets would drive profits in the coming year, and the UK market they predict to be relatively flat, but with new opportunities in health and education. Scott Wilson are also working on the A46 scheme, which has been brought forward as part of last week's Pre-Budget Report.
Blackwood said the economic slowdown would inevitably hit Dubai, which has been an area of strong growth in the past. "There is a fair assuption that there will be a slowdown in Dubai, but we are flexible enough to move resources to work in ports, airports and power in neighbouring markets such as Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Bahrain."
Group chairman Geoff French brushed aside market speculation that Scott Wilson could be a takeover target for a group wanting to expand quickly in intenational markets, and indicated the company would resist a takeover attempt.
"I took it as City gossip. Many people think we are a good company to be acquired, but our strategic plan looks at our own growth.
"Anybody who is bigger than us and approaches us, we would disappear under any such takeover and would be a serious issue for us," he said.
The company also announced the appointment of Christopher Kemball as non-exective director, who comes from Davis Service Group where he was non-executive chair, and prior to that was non-executive director at Atkins. He will take up the post on January 1 2009.
Scott Wilson shares rose 4% to 102p on the results.