Bribery charge leaves Sweett £5m worse off

The SFO investigation and subsequent bribery fine have cost the Aim-listed Sweett Group over £5m it said in a trading update yesterday.


The statement said that as a result of the withdrawal from the Middle East and North Africa and the SFO investigation, the Group's audited final results for the year ended 31 March 2016 will include an exceptional charge of in aggregate approximately £5.1 million (2015: £1.7 million).

In December 2015, the Group announced its intention to withdraw from MENA in December following the resolution of the SFO investigation.  This resulted in an order to pay a confiscation of £851,152 in May 2016 and a fine of £1.4 million.

However, the firm said that the outlook was good. “In the year to 31 March 2016 in the Group's ongoing business (excluding MENA) which now predominantly comprises the UK has been strong with anticipated revenue of £54.9 million representing growth of approximately 6.6 per cent (2015: £51.5 million).

Profit before tax, adjusted for exceptional administrative expenses and amortisation of acquired intangibles for the ongoing business decreased in the year to approximately £2.2 million (2015: £2.9 million).

Significant client wins during the year include the Group's re-appointment to the £6.5 billion Thameslink Programme, the Western & Wales commission for Network Rail, Gilmorehill Campus expansion for the University of Glasgow, the redevelopment of Chase Farm Hospital in North London and two major office developments with Commercial Estates Group.

In addition, the Group has secured places on over 20 Framework Agreements across public, private and infrastructure sectors; most notably Highways England, Infrastructure Ontario, Deutsche Bank.

Douglas McCormick, CEO of Sweett Group, commented: "We have made very significant progress during the year to meet our key strategic objectives, which will inevitably lead to improved cash flows and provide us with a platform to grow profits sustainably.

 "I have been particularly appreciative of the considerable client and colleague loyalty we have seen as we have worked through and resolved the Group's legacy issues. The reorganisation of the remaining business into five regions has rejuvenated energy levels within the Group and I believe we are well positioned for the future."