TClarke on track for full year; record order book of more than £500m

TClarke plc (“the Group” or “TClarke”), the Building Services Group, announces its half year results for the period ended 30 June 2021.

Business Highlights:

  • Record £503m order book, with the order growth primarily in the Technology sector where recent investment over prior periods is starting to be rewarded
  • Three Data Centre projects won successfully with more being tendered
  • Significant progress in building capability as the Company progresses towards target of delivering £500m in revenues whilst maintaining margins
  • Proprietary Smart Building solution gaining traction in both commercial market and other growth areas given the increasing focus on ‘net zero carbon’
  • Additional order book potential upside from significant opportunities in bidding stage
  • Interim dividend maintained at 0.75p
  • Well set for increased volumes and margin growth in the second half of the year
Financial Highlights:
2021
2020
Revenue 
£138.2m
£106.1m
Operating profit – underlying1
£2.4m
£2.2m
Operating profit – reported 
£2.4m
(£1.0m)






Operating margin– underlying1
1.7%
2.1%
Profit before tax – underlying1
£1.9m
£1.7m
Profit before tax – reported
£1.9m
(£1.5m)
Net cash
£2.0m
£7.5m
Earnings per share – underlying2
3.58p
3.10p
Earnings per share – basic
3.58p
(2.85p)
Interim dividend per share
0.75p
0.75p
Forward order book
£503m
£402m

Underlying operating profit, profit before tax and operating margin are stated before amortisation of intangible assets and restructuring costs.

2 Underlying earnings per share is calculated by dividing underlying profit after tax by the weighted average number of shares in issue

Trading

The business has reached a significant strategic milestone with our forward order book in excess of £500m for the first time as we deliver our growth strategy. The investment that we have made in our people to support the tendering process and project delivery has started to be reflected both in the record order book and also in preparation for the London business to deliver very significant growth in volumes in the second half of 2021.

As previously reported, turnover and profit in 2021 will be heavily weighted to the second half of the year. This is particularly significant in the London business where two thirds of secured turnover and over 80% of profit is forecast to be delivered in the last six months of the year. London’s operating margin for the first six months was 1.4% (2020 3.2%), UK South operating margin was 3.7% (2020 3.1%) and UK North operating margin was 3.7% (2020 (1.1%)).  After deducting group costs of £1m the overall Group operating margin during the period was 1.7% (2020 2.1%).

Cash

Net cash of £2.0m as at 30 June 2021 is some £5.5m lower than at the same time in 2020. This is mainly the result of the introduction of the construction industry reverse charge VAT scheme from 1 March 2021, with the impact of this change being a once off reduction in cash of £3.5m. The principal cash movements are detailed in the banking facilities section of this report.

Dividend

The Board proposes an interim dividend of 0.75p per share (2020: 0.75p per share) to be paid on 1 October 2021 to shareholders on the register at 3 September 2021. 

Order Book

It is pleasing to report that the Group’s order book now stands at a new record of £503m. This is a £100m increase compared to the position at 30 June 2020. In addition, TClarke has many significant opportunities in the bid stage and is well placed to secure these opportunities. The growth in order book has not come from deferred projects from 2020 but encouragingly the opportunities have come primarily in the Technology sector where our investment over the last few years is starting to be rewarded. 

Three significant Data Centre projects have been secured for completion by the first quarter of 2022, with several others currently being tendered. 

Separately, the investment in the Group’s proprietary Smart Building solution is gaining traction not only in the commercial market but in growth areas such as the healthcare sector where there is an increasingly important ‘net zero carbon’ agenda.

The split of the order book is as follows:

Market sector 30 June 2021 30 June 2020 % Increase over 2020
Infrastructure £93m £85m 9%
Technology £132m £49m 169%
Residential & Hotels £113m £112m 1%
Engineering Services £153m £139m 10%
Facilities Management £12m £17m (29%)
Total £503m £402m 25%

Outlook

TClarke has made excellent progress in building its capability and order book as we rapidly progress to reach our target to deliver £500m in revenues whilst maintaining our margins. The Board expects revenues and profit to build quickly throughout the course of the second half of 2021 and remains confident of meeting market expectations for the full year.

Mark Lawrence, Chief Executive, commented

We are immensely proud of the teams here at TClarke that have worked hard to secure our largest ever order book which now stands at £503 million. In March of this year, I stated that we expected revenues and profit to build rapidly throughout the course of the second half of the year as our recently secured projects gain momentum. We have an excellent balance of projects across a wide range of growing sectors and our reputation for delivering high quality work remains a key strength of our business. With the current project programmes we believe that the second half of 2021 will be the busiest in our history.”

-ends-

Date: 20 July 2021

For further information contact:

TClarke plc  
Mark Lawrence
Chief Executive Officer Trevor Mitchell Finance Director

Tel: 020 7997 7400  
www.tclarke.co.uk  
Cenkos Securities plc (Corporate Broker)
Ben Jeynes (Corporate Finance)
Alex Potten (Sales)
Tel: 020 7397 8900
www.cenkos.com
RMS Partners Simon Courtenay Tel: 020 3735 6551




Operational Review

The Group is managed in three operational areas, London, UK South and UK North, providing nationwide coverage from nineteen locations across the UK. 

We focus on repeat customers and framework contracts in the following key markets:  

  • Infrastructure 
  • Residential & Hotels
  • Facilities Management
  • Engineering Services
  • Technologies

TClarke – London 


30 06 2021  £m 30 06 2020  £m
Revenue 72.8 58.7
Underlying operating profit 1.0 2.0
Underlying operating profit margin 1.4% 3.2%
Order book 346 252

London is the most significant of our three operating divisions and includes our combined engineering services London business, our London technology business and our off-site prefabrication facility at Stansted. 

We have continued to make good progress on our key projects within our Engineering Services offering, and the first half of the current year has seen a particularly strong performance across our medical controls panel manufacturing projects. London is engaged on a number of high profile commercial and hotel developments all of which offer future fit out opportunities. We have started work on the first of our large data centre project wins, and as set out above are well positioned to significantly increase output and profitability in the second half of the year. The London order book has grown by 37% mainly as a result of the Data Centre wins. In addition, there are many opportunities that we are well placed to secure across all our market sectors.

The heavy weighting of turnover to the second half of 2021 combined with investment in people needed to deliver the volume of projects has meant that London operating margin has fallen to 1.4%. Our expectation is for margins to recover during the second half of 2021 back to London’s normal operating margin of circa 3.5%.

TClarke – UK South


30 06 2021  £m 30 06 2020  £m
Revenue 35.4 29.1
Underlying operating profit 1.3 0.9
Underlying operating profit margin 3.7% 3.1%
Order book 57 72

UK South operates from our offices at Birmingham, Derby, Kimbolton, Newport, Peterborough, Portishead, Plymouth and St Austell, and is able to target a vast range of construction and facilities management opportunities across the region. 

The first half of the year has seen continued success in the healthcare sector, delivering and securing significant projects across the region. The Small Works and Facilities Management teams have also seen a strong performance, including the Climate Solutions and Security divisions. The region has successfully secured two large de-carbonisation schemes to be delivered during 2021.

TClarke – UK North


30 06 2021 £m 30 06 2020 £m
Revenue 30.0 18.3
Underlying operating profit/(loss) 1.1 (0.2)
Underlying operating profit/(loss) margin 3.7% (1.1%)
Order book 100 78

The UK North division operates from seven locations; Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Falkirk, Aberdeen and Dumfries. 

An operating profit of £1.1m reflects a strong performance for the first half of the year, driven by completion of our first major engineering services project in Liverpool, our continued success in winning and delivering a number of educational projects through our Leeds office and Scotland’s residential work. In addition our Manchester office has recently secured a significant engineering services project for a major financial institution.

Pension Obligations

In accordance with IAS 19 ‘Employee Benefits’, an actuarial gain of £4.4m, net of tax, has been recognised in reserves during the period, with the pension scheme deficit decreasing to £24.5m (30th June 2020: £29.9m). The decrease in the deficit is largely the result of the discount rate increasing to 2.0% (30th June 2020: 1.6%). In accordance with the Group’s agreed deficit reduction plan, described in detail in the most recent annual report, the annual deficit reduction contribution is set at £1.5m for the current year, and will remain at this amount until the review of the next triennial actuarial valuation of the scheme at 31 December 2021. 

The scheme is closed to new members and the Group continues to meet its ongoing obligations to the scheme.

Banking Facilities and Cash Flow

The Group has a £10m overdraft facility, repayable on demand, and a £15m revolving credit facility (“RCF”) expiring on 31st August 2024. At 30 June 2021 the RCF was fully drawn down and the overdraft facility was unutilised. The gross cash balance was £17.0m, resulting in net cash of £2.0m. The Group therefore has up to £27.0m available to support the Group’s working capital flows and funding demands during the course of the year. The Group has £40.1m bonding facilities in place of which £25.2m were unutilised at 30 June 2021.

The net cash figure of £2m is £5.5m lower than at the same time in 2020. This is mainly as a result of the introduction of the Construction industry reverse charge VAT scheme from 1 March 2021. The impact of this has been to reduce cash by £3.5m. The principal cash movements are detailed below:


£m
Balance 1 July 2020 7.5
Profit after tax 4.3
Reverse Charge VAT regime (3.5)
Repayment of deferred VAT (1.1)
Dividends (1.9)
Pension deficit reduction (1.5)
Employee Share Trust Share Purchase (0.5)
Other (1.3)
Balance at 30 June 2021 2.0

Net Assets and Capital Structure

The Group is funded by equity capital, retained reserves and bank facilities, and there are no plans to change this. Shareholders’ equity is £19.0m; an increase of £3.3m compared to 30 June 2020.