WYG considers sale or merger to deal with soaring workload

WYG, the Leeds-based project manager, has announced today that is it is undertaking a strategic review into how it can maximise its future growth. The firm said it was considering "all options" to increase its capital, including a sale, a merger, or the raising of external finance.  

The company revealed its plans in a statement to the stock exchange. It said that it now had more work opportunities than it could take on under its organic growth model. Its share price rose 7% in the first hours after the statement was made.  

It said: "Against this background, the board of WYG recognises that this strategic review may or may not conclude that, given its current relative scale, being part of a larger business or expanding the scale of its current operating platform would provide significant advantages and better position the company to take full advantage of its growth potential. 

"At this stage, all options available to the company are being considered." 

Under stock exchange rules, the company is now considered to be in an "offer period". Lazard & Co is advising it on any corporate activity it decides to undertake. 

The firm, which was formerly known as White Young Green, employs about 1,400 staff in 40 countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It is primarily involved in the civils sector, including the design of roads, bridges, canals and ports, as well as project management commissions from the rail industry.  

The firm expanded rapidly through acquisitions up until 2008, and then struggled to remain afloat in the slump. After a number of debt-for-equity swaps and an 85% fall in its share price, WYG’s management carried out a review in 2011 that succeeded in stabilising the business. In six months to 30 September 2014, it posted a £416,000 pre-tax loss, compared with a £743,000 pre-tax loss the previous year.

Photograph: One of WYG’s schemes is Marooj City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (WYG)

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