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Keller confident for 2019 after “deeply unsatisfactory” 2018

Restructuring of Keller has resulted in a statutory loss after tax of £13.8M in 2018 for the group.

The company who announced their preliminary results for 2018 today has said that trading and earnings were in line with revised expectations, but underlying operating profit decreased by 11% to £96.6M, despite revenue increasing by 7% to of £2.2bn.

The business also saw EBITDA fall to £167.5M, down 5% on the previous year, and net debt rise to £286M, up from £230M in 2017.

Keller took decisive actions across the group in 2018, closing its heavy foundations business in Singapore and Malaysia; restructuring its Waterway business in Australia and downsizing its operations in Brazil and Africa in response to adverse market conditions.

Group-wide actions to address underperforming business units have been successfully implemented, the firm said, but this had resulted in an exceptional group restructuring charge of £61.4M, comprising of £30.1M impairment of goodwill, £22.8M of other impairments and a cash restructuring charge of £8.5M.

Keller announced it had completed its buyout of US-based geotechnical contracting business Moretrench in March 2018.

In 2019 the group said it will be focussing more intently on underperforming areas of its portfolio, including business units, branches, products and projects, and will remediate their performance or exit completely if there is not felt to be value potential in the medium term, the announcement said.

However the firm said that the outlook across the group was positive, with an order book of £1bn.

Keller CEO Alain Michaelis said: “2018 results were deeply unsatisfactory with an 11% profit decline, as a result of which we have acted firmly in restructuring four of our business units.

“In addition we have continued to build the capability of the group, with the successful acquisition and integration of Moretrench in the US a notable highlight.

“The internal improvement measures, coupled with a stable market outlook, a healthy order book and Keller’s leading position in the industry, give us confidence in the outlook for 2019.”

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