LSE slaps ERT for recklessness

HYDER CONSULTING has boosted its international business to nearly three-quarters of total revenues, a move that has insulated it from the worst of the recession in the UK, the company said.<br /><br />Hyder, which specialises in design for infrastructure and engineering projects, yesterday said it would meet annual profit targets as it reported first-half results in line with 2008.<br /><br />The company said of total revenues of &pound;156.3m, 72 per cent came from offshore compared to 65 per cent in 2008. <br /><br />Revenue in the first half was up 3.1 per cent overall but&nbsp; revenue from the UK fell 7.0 per cent to &pound;60.6m. The company blamed uncertainty ahead of water price negotiations for a slowdown in its water utilities division in the UK.<br /><br />Hyder said it had approximately 60 per cent of the next 12 months&rsquo; revenue secured and its order book stood at &pound;352m.<br /><br />Operating profit in the first half came in at &pound;6.8m compared with&nbsp; &pound;6.7m a year ago.<br /><br />Hyder chairman Alan Thomas said: &ldquo;Our geographic and sector diversity gives us confidence in meeting our expectations for the remainder of the financial year.&rdquo;<br /><br />Hyder&rsquo;s debts rose to &pound;16.2m at September 30, up from &pound;5.7m at the end of March. The company has total debt facilities of &pound;57.6m of which &pound;41.4m is unused.<br /><br />Hyder said it had won contracts including a major motorway and schools building programme in Australia, public transport in Hong Kong, London&rsquo;s&nbsp; Crossrail project and the Pentominium Tower in Dubai.<br /><br />The firm got a tick of approval from the City, with shares in the group rising more than one per cent to 249p yesterday.