Torpid trading in energy and industrial markets put Exova (EXO) to the test in the first half of 2016. But gains in other markets and a string of acquisitions pushed the testing and advisory services group's operating profits before one-offs up 9 per cent to £23.4m.
Exova, which operates 138 laboratories and offices across 33 countries, stomached a 16 per cent fall in organic, constant-currency sales in its oil, gas and industrials segment. The main culprit was the depressed oil price, which resulted in lower project spending in Europe, fewer clients and pricing pressure in the Americas and less activity in Asia. But comparable revenues rose by at least 4 per cent across Exova's other divisions, reflecting strong demand for aerospace testing in Europe and the Americas and road and rail investments in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.