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M25 of the Middle East lifts Hyder

RESULTS: Engineering consultant's work on the "M25 of the Middle East" boosts profits and investors can still snap up a bargain on nine times earnings, too.

"It is like building an M25 in the Middle East," said chief executive Ivor Catto, referring to the Qatari's £3bn Doha expressway project, on which Hyder Consulting (HYC) has recently won a £70m design contract.

IC TIP: Buy at 429p

Oil money is rapidly being turned into concrete in the desert. Mr Catto said a "ramping up" of expenditure was behind the region's eye-catching 82 per cent rise in operating profits to £7.1m. Revenues increased 18 per cent to £75m, or a quarter of the group total, and the Middle East order book is up 40 per cent to £190m year-on-year. In turn, this accounted for all of the £50m increase in the group order book of £413m, securing almost two-thirds of current year forecast revenue.

In Europe, conditions are still challenging. Revenue slipped marginally to £100m, but operating profits fell sharply 13 per cent to £4.8m due to lower margins earned on contracts in the UK. However, Mr Catto believes the UK has reached an inflection point. Both profit and headcount actually increased during the second half and he flagged up a national flood defence contract with the Environment Agency announced alongside these results. That's worth £40m over four years.

Broker Panmure Gordon expects current year adjusted pre-tax profits of £22.9m and EPS of 46p (from £23.8m and 46.6p in 2013).

HYDER CONSULTING (HYC)

ORD PRICE:429pMARKET VALUE:£166m
TOUCH:422-435p12-MONTH HIGH:490pLOW: 365p
DIVIDEND YIELD:2.8%PE RATIO:12
NET ASSET VALUE:247p*NET CASH:£24.3m

Year to 31 MarTurnover (£m)Pre-tax profit (£m)Earnings per share (p)Dividend per share (p)
20093193.29.14.50
201030913.529.56.00
201129018.239.37.75
201227717.736.59.00
201329818.835.512.00
% change+8+6-3+33

Ex-div: 10 Jul

Payment: 9 Aug

*Includes intangible assets of £47m, or 120p a share