17 May 2018
Hill & Smith Holdings PLC
Full Year Expectations Unchanged
Hill & Smith Holdings PLC ('Hill & Smith' or 'the Group'), the international group with leading positions in the design, manufacture and supply of infrastructure products and galvanizing services to global markets, today issues a trading update covering the period from 1 January 2018 to 30 April 2018 (the 'period') ahead of its Annual General Meeting to be held later today.
Revenue of £185.1m for the period is marginally behind prior year (2017: £191.3m), but similar after adjusting for acquisitions/disposals and currency translation, most notably in respect of the impact of the strengthening of sterling against the US dollar. Underlying operating profit is lower than the same period in the prior year. The Group has continued to see positive trading in its international businesses which has been offset by the performance across the UK businesses being impacted by both project delays and adverse weather conditions.
Since mid-March, the Group has experienced improved order intake across its UK road and utilities businesses while continuing to record strong performances in both the US and French operations. The Board reconfirms that its expectations for the full year remain unchanged.
During the period the Group completed four acquisitions for total consideration of £32.6m, including potential deferred consideration of up to £1.4m. D Gibson Road & Quarry Services Limited was acquired on 1 January. Supplying road signs and ancillary products into UK contractors, the business has been absorbed into our existing lighting column operation. Signalvakter Syd was acquired on 28 March. A Swedish traffic management business, Signalvakter has been integrated into our existing Scandinavian operations and will serve to extend our product offering. On 27 April, the Group acquired the business and certain assets of The Grating Company Limited and Pro Composites Limited. The businesses specialise in the design, supply and installation of glass reinforced plastic composite products into the construction and rail markets in the south-east of the UK and have been integrated into our existing UK composites operation.
Further, on 9 May, the Group announced the acquisition of the business and assets of Work Area Protection Corp., and its associated affiliates ("WAPCO") for a total cash consideration of $42.0m on a debt free, cash free basis. Based in the USA, WAPCO specialises in the development, manufacture and distribution of a wide range of road workzone safety products, including crash attenuators, temporary variable message signs, smart work zone systems and traffic control products such as drums, channelizers and cones. The combination of WAPCO's business with our existing US and international roads businesses will increase the scale and range of road safety products into key geographies where the infrastructure investment outlook is strong.
The pipeline of acquisitions remains encouraging and the Group is committed to deploying its resources to enhance its geographic and product footprint in markets where the infrastructure investment outlook is strong. Effective 1 June 2018, Mark Pegler, as part of his role as Group Finance Director, has been asked by the Board to focus on the development and execution of such acquisition opportunities. Operational and management responsibility of the UK Utilities group will therefore revert back to Derek Muir.
On the outlook, Derek Muir, Group Chief Executive, commented: "Despite project delays and the weather-impacted start to the year in the UK, conditions across our principal markets continue to be favourable. Overall, despite political and macroeconomic uncertainties, the Board reconfirms that its expectations for the full year remain unchanged, albeit with a greater second half bias."
The proposed 2017 final dividend of 20.6 pence per share, announced on 7 March 2018, will, subject to shareholder approval, be paid on 2 July 2018 to those shareholders on the register at the close of business on 25 May 2018. The ex-dividend date is 24 May 2018.
The Group's interim results for the six months ending 30 June 2018 are scheduled to be announced on 8 August 2018.
- Ends -
This announcement contains forward looking statements which are made in good faith based on the information available at the time of its approval. It is believed that the expectations reflected in these statements are reasonable but they may be affected by a number of risks and uncertainties that are inherent in any forward looking statement which could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated. Nothing in this document should be regarded as a profits forecast.
For further information, please contact:
Hill & Smith Holdings PLC Tel: 44 (0)121 704 7430
Derek Muir, Group Chief Executive
Mark Pegler, Group Finance Director
MHP Communications Tel: 44 (0)20 3128 8100
Oliver Hughes / Vera Prokhorenko
Notes to Editors
Hill & Smith Holdings PLC is an international group with leading positions in the design, manufacture and supply of infrastructure products and galvanizing services to global markets. It serves its customers from facilities principally in the UK, France, USA, Sweden, Norway, India and Australia.
The Group's operations are organised into three main business segments:
Infrastructure Products - Roads, supplying products and services such as permanent and temporary road safety barriers, hostile vehicle mitigation products, street lighting columns, bridge parapets, temporary car parks and variable road messaging solutions.
Infrastructure Products - Utilities, supplying products and services such as pipe supports for the power and liquid natural gas markets, energy grid components, composite "GRP" products, plastic drainage pipes, industrial flooring, handrails, access covers and security fencing.
Galvanizing Services which provides zinc and other coatings for a wide range of products including fencing, lighting columns, structural steel work, bridges, agricultural and other products for the infrastructure and construction markets.
Headquartered in the UK and quoted on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: HILS.L), Hill & Smith Holdings PLC employs some 4,300 staff, principally in seven countries.