Unaudited Interim Results for the six months ended 30 September 2016

Aquila Services Group plc (‘‘the Company’’), previously General Industries plc, is the holding company for Altair Consultancy & Advisory Services Ltd (‘‘Altair’’) and Murja Ltd (“Murja”) which form the Group (‘‘the Group’’).

The Group’s particular expertise is in the provision, financing and management of affordable housing by housing associations, local authorities, government agencies and other non-profit organisations as well as high level business advice to the property sector.

Results Highlights

 

6 months to
30 September 2016 (unaudited)
£000s

6 months to
30 September 2015 (unaudited)
£000s

Year ended
31 March 2016 (audited)
£000s

Revenue 2,796 2,261 4,746
Gross Profit

673

464 1,288
Operating Profit

239

205

290

EPS
(before deemed cost of listing)

0.53p

0.66p

0.61p

Declared Dividend per Share

0.24p

0.22p

0.66p

Cash Balances

2,173

1,974

2,552

Download the Aquila Services Group Interim Report. For further information please contact:

Aquila Services Group plc
Fiona Underwood
Tel: 020 7934 0175

Beaumont Cornish Limited, Financial Adviser
Roland Cornish
Tel: 020 7628 3396

Chairman’s Statement and Interim Management Report
For the six months ended 30 September 2016

I am delighted to announce the half year results for the Group, which has continued to perform strongly.

Altair, a leading provider of consultancy services to the property sector, specifically the provision of affordable housing, has grown organically in the first half in response to an increased order book.  Expansion has been focused on the North of England to enable Altair to better serve its clients in the Midlands, Northern England and Scotland.

Murja, acquired in December 2015, has seen further opportunities arise, particularly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and as a result has increased its consulting capacity.

We are also seeing both subsidiaries benefitting from the expanded client base.

Trading results

The Group saw a 23% increase in turnover for the 6 months to 30 September 2016.  Gross profit rose to £673k (September 2015: £464k, March 2016: £1,288k) with operating profit of £307k (September 2015: £250k, March 2016: £545k).  Operating profits took into account investment in new staff for Altair and Murja and, as required under IFRS 2, before the share option charge as set out below.

The comparison between this reporting period, the year-end position and the previous year’s half-year results for the Group are as follows:

6 months to
30 September 2016 (unaudited)

6 months to
30 September 2015 (unaudited)

Year ended
31 March 2016 (audited)

£000s

£000s

£000s

Turnover

2,796 2,261

4,746

Gross profit

673 464

1,288

Operating profit (before share option charge)

307

250

545

Share option charge

68

45

255

Operating profit (after share option charge)

239

205

290

The Group is in a very strong net asset position, with over £2.17m in cash held at 30 September 2016.

Dividend

The Directors propose to declare an interim dividend of 0.24p per share which will be paid on 19 December 2016 to shareholders on the register at 9 December 2016.

The Company is committed to a progressive dividend policy to enhance shareholder value.

Business Review

The underlying business remains strong and there has been continued growth of the client base in Altair’s consultancy business.  The acquisition of Murja has expanded our offering into the education sector and we are beginning to see the opportunities of the treasury offering complementing Altair’s business activities within the housing sector.  We are also pleased that new projects are being won both in the UK and Republic of Ireland by Murja.

Altair has invested in and expanded its consultancy capacity through recruitment of new consultants focusing on increasing its national coverage and developing new products and services to reflect the changing operational and political environment of our clients.  These new products have provided opportunities to bid for larger contracts and, as a consequence, has extended the consultancy pipeline.  The core consultancy and interim business remains strong and the client base continues to grow in number and range.

Murja has similarly expanded its specialist treasury management services.  A significant number of clients are on retained contracts and additional fees are secured once specific projects have been completed.  During the six months under review, a number of these specific projects have commenced with fees expected to accrue during the next twelve months.

Risk and Uncertainties

The Directors do not consider that the principal risks and uncertainties have changed since the publication of the annual report for the year ended 31 March 2016, which contains a detailed explanation of the risks relevant to the Group on page 6, and is available at:

http://aquilaservicesgroup.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/General-Industries-plc-2016-Accounts.pdf

Outlook

The Group is aware of the varied and changing policy landscape brought about by the impact of welfare reform, reducing government grants for home-ownership, further devolved funding and decision making to local authorities.

The Government’s Autumn Statement has confirmed new money for the affordable homes programme, with flexibility of tenure which is good news for the housing sector.  There is also encouragement for new building and a raft of housing policies relating to right to buy and welfare reform.

A forthcoming housing White Paper will provide more detail, but will almost certainly involve housing associations, local authorities and traditional housebuilders.  The enhanced spending on infrastructure announced by the Chancellor is welcomed.

These on-going changes mean that clients will continue to need services that the Group supplies and the provision of value-for-money, high quality services continues to be fundamental to the Group’s offering to the market.

The Group continues to look at opportunities to expand its consultancy base through acquisition.  Initial discussions have been held with a number of parties.  Most of these businesses are privately owned and it is hoped that they will be attracted to the benefits of joining a well-established and listed group.

Jeff Zitron
Chairman

This information can also be found on the London Stock Exchange website.

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