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In the year to April 2017, the practice achieved its highest ever operating profit of £22.8m, an increase of £2.5m (up 12%) over the prior year.
This has been achieved through carefully targeting our growth along with a focus on increasing the value our clients place on our services. Turnover increased by 7% to £171.9m (2016: £160.9m) whilst our operating margin improved to 13.3%. Operating profit as reported in an LLP structure, is stated before any partner profit share.
As an international practice with significant global reach, turnover was generated in over 70 countries during 2016/17.
Growth in the practices turnover was driven by our UK (+53%) and US (+19%) markets which helped to mitigate the impact of a slowdown in the Middle East (-22%). The proportion of the practice turnover driven by the UK market has risen from 26% to 37%, due to significant developments within major cities, particularly London.
Continued focus on working capital over the past few years has resulted in substantial improvement in our cash position.
In 2009 the business was utilising its facilities with a net debt position of £8.5m and borrowing from the banks of £10.9m. In the year to April 2016, cash increased to £32.1m (2016: £26.0m) whilst bank loans and overdraft reduced to £0.4m (2016: £1.5m).
Our internal measure of working capital is Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). DSO increased 2% compared with 2016, largely driven by outstanding debtors held in the Middle East. At 30 April 2017, DSO stood at 107 days, reducing from 137 days in 2009.
Trade debtors have reduced from £56m in 2009 to £50m in 2017, despite a 15% increase in turnover over the same period. This has led to a significantly improved liquidity position as evidenced by the increased levels of cash held by the practice.
Our ability to grow is entirely dependent on our access to exceptional people.
Our market is highly competitive and we continue to attract the best in our industry across all of our markets. We have added talent in every part of our business and continue to grow to meet the changing needs of our project portfolio. Given our strong project book, we are excited to enter the new year with confidence.