Sweett Group to sell Asia-Pacific arm

UK-based consultant Sweett Group is in talks to sell off its Asia-Pacific arm following a strategic review. Although the region accounts for 35% of group revenues and 46% of its order book, growth has been restricted owing to a lack of working capital. 

A statement from Sweet said it had been decided that a buyer should be sought for the group’s business "who is better able to maximise the significant opportunities for growth available to the business".  

It added: "Proceeds of the sale would be used to pay down group debt and provide capital to expand our core profit centres in the UK and Europe and sustainable growth in North America." 

The company will put £1.6m towards an continuing probe by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, concerning historic allegations of bribery brought to light by the Wall Street Journal in 2013. 

In February this year, Sweett appointed former Atkins director Douglas McCormick (pictured) as its chief executive officer. 

McCormick said: "I have been in post for seven weeks and have visited many of our operations and met a large number of colleagues. I have found a great business which has had a difficult time. 

"These difficulties are very clearly surmountable and we have outlined today a broad strategy, focusing on improving group profitability and cash flow, addressing a number of the key issues facing this business." 

Sweett Group’s order book at 31 March 2015 stood at £112m, at the same time in 2014 it was £105m. 

The aim of the review was to improve profitability and cash flow, and thereby reduce the group’s debt. 

Image: New Sweett Group chief executive Douglas McCormick

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