Wednesday 6 March 2019 9:45 am

Costain drops more than £200m in revenue as chief executive calls time

Costain chief executive Andrew Wyllie will retire after 14 years at the helm, the construction company said today.

Wyllie will be replaced by Alex Vaughan, managing director of the firm’s natural resources division, on 7 May after an annual general meeting.

Read more: Costain awarded Network Rail contract for 'Meerkat' technology

But the news was not enough to distract investors from falling profits and revenues in 2018, which saw Costain shares fall four per cent on Wednesday morning.

The figures

Profit before tax fell to £40.2m for the year ending 31 December, down from £41.8m the year before, while the firm's revenue was down 13 per cent to £1.46bn from £1.68bn in 2017.

Costain said it had a cash position of £189m at the end of the year, but this has also dropped, from £248.7m at the end of 2017. Meanwhile, it had borrowings of £70.5m.

Why it matters

Costain's directors are trying to reposition the firm as a "smart infrastructure" company, with regulated public sector bodies such as Highways England among their biggest clients.

As a consequence, the revenue hit was "deliberate," as it tries to pivot within the sector, Wyllie told City A.M..

Andrew Wyllie, Costain CEO, will step down in May (Source: Costain)

The company insisted it was a “strong” year, driven by “providing smart infrastructure solutions that expertly integrate consultancy, complex delivery, technology and asset optimisation services”.

What Costain said:

Outgoing boss Wyllie said the results were "the consequence of the implementation of our focused and ambitious strategy, our enhanced market differentiation and robust financial management.

Read more: Here's one company that is happy about the London Bridge regeneration

“We are operating in a dynamic and rapidly changing market environment influenced by major demographic, economic, social and technology trends which are creating a wide array of exciting new business opportunities for the group.”

Chairman Paul Golby said: “On behalf of everyone at Costain, I would like to thank Andrew for everything that he has done for the business and to wish him and his family well for the future.

"We are delighted that Alex will be taking over. He has played a major role in the development of the group and the implementation of its strategy, and has the expertise and ambition to deliver the future growth of the business.”