Hill & Smith Holdings PLC, the international group with leading positions in the manufacture and supply of infrastructure products and galvanizing services to global markets, announced its audited results for the year ended 31 December 2018.
Returned to growth in H2 after disappointing H1
Robust performance from US and other international businesses, driven by significant investment in new and replacement infrastructure
Improved second half performance in UK despite a cautious investment environment
Seven acquisitions completed in 2018 and early 2019, extending the Group’s infrastructure product range and addressable markets
Underlying EPS growth of 3%, benefitting from lower tax rate of 19.6% (2017: 24.0%)
Strong operating cash flow: net debt £132.9m, 1.3x underlying EBITDA, despite significant acquisition spend (£45.8m) and capital investment (£32.8m) in the year
Proposed 6% increase in final dividend to 21.8p giving a full year dividend up 6% to 31.8p, the sixteenth successive year of increases
Derek Muir, Chief Executive, said:
“We returned to growth in the second half, a testament to our resilient business model, our leading positions in markets with clear long-term growth dynamics, and our ability to create our own growth opportunities by broadening and enhancing the range of products that we can offer. We do this both through internal product development and by targeting complementary acquisitions, and 2018 has been a busy and successful year in this regard.
“Our UK and US businesses, which represent the bulk of our activities, will continue to benefit from the significant ongoing investment in replacement and new infrastructure in those countries. In particular, the UK Government’s confirmed long-term commitment to increased investment in the roads network is very encouraging for our UK roads business, and our US businesses will benefit from the US Administration’s ‘Buy American’ policy for federally funded infrastructure projects.
“Despite all the current well-documented political and macro-economic uncertainty, we are confident that our leading market positions, business model and financial strength put us in a strong position to take advantage of market opportunities as they present themselves. Whilst we continue to experience some short term uncertainty in the UK, we have reasonable expectations that 2019 will be a year of progress for the Group.”
As announced today, Mark Pegler, Group Finance Director, will step down from the Board and leave the Group at the end of April 2019. This move reflects the outcome of the Board’s long term succession planning alongside Mark’s personal plans for the future. A search for his successor is underway.