5 September 2011 – interim results

A very solid set of figures has been reported for the first half.  Revenue was £253.2m (2010: £166.9m), meaning there has been a 51.7% improvement and a record reported level of activity.  Profit before tax was £15.8m (2010: loss of £2.4m) and this translated into earnings per share excluding exceptional items of 11.65p versus a loss of 1.84p last year.  Nevertheless, net debt rose to £138.8m, up £10.4m from a year earlier.

The results have done little to spark enthusiasm for the shares, which closed at 120p on Friday.  However, we continue to believe that the business is moving in the right direction and the shares trade on an exceptionally low multiple of prospective earnings.  The level of debt is a concern but on balance we feel the share price should be higher and maintain our BUY rating.