BusinessCompany NewsMouchel – On track for rail success

Mouchel - On track for rail success

Depending on how you look at things, this may or may not be a good time to be providing consultancy to rail operators and services. However, it remains one of Mouchel's core services and an important fee earner as it announces its full-year results today.

Interestingly, this will be the first time of reporting for Mouchel finance director Kevin Young, who trained with PwC, since the company was floated at the end of June this year. Chief executive Jim Harding, once an accountant with Vickers, will also be watching closely.

For the company the first months of trading have been turbulent. The stock price opened in late June at a respectable 140.5p on the issue of 24.2m shares. However the price had plummeted to 104.5p by August of this year.

Since then there has been a rally with the price rising to as high as 130p early this month, but it was trading at around 117.5p at the beginning of this week.

Flotation was always going to be a rather risky business in the current environment, but it also meant that the share price did not necessarily reflect the financial performance of the company.

FD Kevin Young has taken the opportunity to point out, on the company’s website, that the forward order book, after 2001 results, was the strongest it had ever been. Indeed Young revealed that future turnover of £200m had already been confirmed before the end of 2001 for those periods that followed. ‘This reflects the greater proportion of work from managed services where margins are more predictable and consistent, as well as the growth in profits from management consultancy where margins are much higher.

The improvement also reflects the impact of better project controls within project services.

‘Underlying cashflow remains strong, again reflecting the increasing proportion of longer term contracts and the cash generative nature of these appointments,’ said Young’s online statement.

This year also saw Mouchel confirmed as the preferred bidder for the £17.5 property care contract for Hertfordshire county council.

Mouchel acquired Metro Consulting this year to help boost its rail consulting services – obviously a market in which the company sees a healthy future.

Results for 2001 saw a 23% rise in profits before tax to £4.3m while turnover increased by 15% from £62.4m to £71.5m.

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