Exova eyes more deals after swing into profit

Exova moved out of the red last year. Picture: Contributed
Exova moved out of the red last year. Picture: Contributed
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Materials testing specialist Exova today said it moved into the black last year as a string of acquisitions helped lift its sales.

The Edinburgh-based group, which floated in April 2014, completed eight takeovers in 2015, contributing to a 7.9 per cent increase in revenues to £296.5 million.

That helped the firm deliver a statutory pre-tax profit of £23.2m, compared with a £23.7m loss in 2014, and it said the pipeline for further acquisitions going into 2016 was “strong”.

READ MORE: Exova seals more deals ahead of annual results

Chief executive Ian El-Mokadem said: “We are pleased to have delivered results which are in line with our guidance, demonstrating the strength of our diversified business and our ability to respond to changing market conditions.

“We delivered strong overall growth, with solid organic performance enhanced by our most successful year to date for acquisitions. The group expects to deliver modest organic growth at constant currency in 2016 due to the strength of our portfolio and model.”

Exova operates 145 laboratories and offices in 32 countries and employs about 4,500 people, of whom some 220 are based in Scotland.

El-Mokadem told The Scotsman that he was “not losing sleep” over the looming referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, and while his personal view was in favour of staying within the trade bloc, the industry would be able to adapt if voters did opt to leave.

The group proposed a 10 per cent increase in its final dividend to 2.2p a share, to be paid on 10 June. That would give a total payout for the year of 3.2p.