Ausenco coming up trumps, for now

The result was achieved on operating revenue of $607 million, up 70.1% over the previous corresponding period.Underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation was $86.3 million, an 82.6% increase on the previous corresponding period.The group’s gross cash position at December 31, 2008 was $46.4 million.In addition to the successful completion of a $101.5 million capital raising and vendor placement, Ausenco undertook its first long-term bank borrowing during the period to partially fund three acquisitions, which were completed during the year. Chief executive Zimi Meka said the successful integration of the acquisitions – PSI, Sandwell and Vector – expanded global operations and diversification of services. The acquisitions also added to the staff increase, with personnel jumping 178% to 2805 since December 2007.Directors have declared a final fully franked dividend of 13.5c per share bringing the dividend for the year to 31.75c per share, a 5% increase from 2007.Meka said while the market softening made it difficult to see growth in 2009, a number of opportunities could result in an improvement of the growth outlook for 2010 and beyond.“Over the past few months we have seen the cancellation of a number of projects which were about to proceed to construction,” Meka said.“We have also seen some clients extend the term of the evaluation phase for new projects in order to buy time until a clearer direction is shown by the world financial and commodity markets and to take advantage of anticipated lower development costs.“More recently we have seen evidence that decisions to cancel a number of viable projects are being revisited by the project sponsors with an increased likelihood of these projects processing to construction in the short to medium term.”

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