Exova revenue up to £161m despite oil, Brexit woes

Exova CEO Ian El-Mokadem

Edinburgh-based industrial testing firm Exova Group said its adjusted revenue rose 13% to £160.9 million and statutory profit before tax rose 53% to £15.3 million in the six months to June 30 despite weakness in its oil and gas business and concerns over the UK leaving the EU.

Exova reported strong performances in product and certification, aerospace, health sciences and in the Middle East during the period and completed two acquisitions — Admaterials in Singapore and Jones Environmental Forensics in the UK.

The firm, which employs about 4,500 people around the world and whose customers include Siemens, Boeing and Airbus, raised its interim dividend 5% to 1.05p per share.

Exova CEO Ian El-Mokadem said: “Overall growth was very strong, driven by acquisitions and broad based organic growth in all areas of the portfolio, with the exception of our oil & gas and industrials cluster, which we now expect to weaken further in the second half.

“The portfolio has been strengthened by the recent acquisitions and disposal, and with further cost actions taken to mitigate the poor trading conditions in oil & gas, we are on track to achieve market expectations.”

In an interview with Reuters, El-Mokadem said the recent vote by Britons to leave the European Union had made Exova more cautious about investing in the UK.

“The uncertainty has made the UK a little bit less attractive … you’re likely to want to deploy capital outside the UK right now where there is greater certainty,” El-Mokadem told Reuters.

“The risk to the UK overall is there’s a lot of businesses are thinking a little bit like we are and lots of small decisions like that add up to something at the end of the day.”

In its outlook, Exova said it expects modest organic revenue growth driven by good overall growth in most of its divisions, “but with a continuing deterioration in oil and gas moderating the rate of growth for the group as a whole in the second half of the year.”

The firm added: “Our acquisitions programme should however continue to contribute significantly to overall revenue growth.

“Given our further cost actions, we also continue to expect group margins to be broadly in line with market expectations.

“As outlined at the start of the year, our medium term revenue expectation remains mid-single digit organic growth and additional continued expansion through acquisitions with gradual margin improvement.”