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MURRAY & ROBERTS ANNOUNCES FULL YEAR FINANCIAL RESULTS
Johannesburg, 30 August 2023 – Murray & Roberts today announced its annual results for the year ended 30 June 2023.
· Revenue from continuing operations R12,5 billion (FY2022: R8,8 billion*)
· Profit before interest and tax from continuing operations R91 million (FY2022: R82 million*).
· Diluted continuing headline loss per share was 71 cents (FY2022: 47 cents*)
· Attributable loss of R3 181 million (FY2022: R135 million profit) after the deconsolidation of MRPL and its subsidiaries
· Order book of R15,4 billion (FY2022: R17,6 billion*)
· Near orders of R9,1 billion (FY2022: R16,2 billion*)
· Net debt of R0,3 billion (FY2022: R1,1 billion)
· Lost-time injury frequency rate of 0.64 (FY2022: 0.58)
· Fatal incident at RUC Cementation Mining in Western Australia, noted with deep regret
*The comparative financial results for the year ended 30 June 2023 have been restated with MRPL and its subsidiaries, Clough Ltd and RUC Cementation Mining Contractors Pty Ltd, previously reported as continuing operations, now reported as discontinued operations.
FINANCIAL REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2023
The financial year to 30 June 2023 has been the most challenging period for Murray & Roberts since the 2008 global financial crisis. The global pandemic was the singular event that destroyed great promise and value for many economies, investors, companies and individuals around the world.
Over the last 18 months the Group was severely tested through the global storm of pandemic-associated lockdowns and restrictions, which compromised its ability to meet contracted deliverables. The level of risk in the Energy, Resources & Infrastructure (“ERI”) platform, associated with its growing order book of fixed price projects, was within the execution capability of the Group. However, the impact of the unforeseen pandemic and its associated global restrictions on people-movements and supply-chains detrimentally and simultaneously affected the Group’s entire portfolio of projects, with consequential increases in the Group’s risk profile and pressure on its working capital requirements. This pressure occurred at a time when the Group’s funding capacity was already constrained, as it had received no dividend income from either its investment in the Bombela Concession Company (RF)(Pty) Ltd (“Bombela”) or its international businesses for the entire period of the pandemic.
Although the Group’s liquidity was constrained during the period of the pandemic, cashflow forecasts at the time indicated that we could meet our commitments as they became due and trade through the difficult period, albeit with reduced financial headroom. Exacerbating the Group’s liquidity issues were the adverse shifts to varying degrees in commercial flexibility among clients, facing their own pandemic-induced cash constraints. Claims were more forcefully contested, in some instances rejected, and in other instances leading to protracted and only partial settlements, which the Group ultimately had to accept.
Notwithstanding that the effects of the pandemic were eventually brought under control, the societal, economic and manufacturing disruption continued and the risk in the ERI platform eventually became intolerable. The Group’s balance sheet and available funding facilities could no longer sustain the increasing working capital requirements of the ERI platform. Ultimately, the Group’s holding company in Australia, Murray & Roberts Pty Ltd (“MRPL”), and one of MRPL’s main subsidiary companies, Clough Limited (“Clough” – the ERI platform’s operating company), were placed under voluntary administration by the directors of MRPL. The Group as a consequence lost control of both MRPL and Clough, and also of RUC Cementation Mining Contractors Pty Ltd (“RUC”), a subsidiary of MRPL. All three companies were deconsolidated from the Group with effect from 5 December 2022.
Stabilising the Group
Globally, several engineering and construction companies have been liquidated due to the impact of the pandemic. Murray & Roberts has been able to withstand the material impact of the pandemic and notwithstanding the loss of its businesses in Australia, believes that it will trade through what remains of this challenging period.
The loss of the ERI platform and RUC has created uncertainty with stakeholders as to the sustainability of the Group considering our current, albeit lower debt levels. We will address this uncertainty by continuing to be transparent and timeous in our communication and disclosures, as we deleverage the balance sheet.
Maintaining a presence in the Asia-Pacific region
As a provider of specialist mining services, it is our intent to maintain a presence in the Asia-Pacific (“APAC”) region, which is the region formerly serviced by RUC. The Group’s global expertise in mine design, engineering and construction, and our technical capability in areas like vertical and decline shaft construction means that our services should always be in demand in the APAC region, including Australia. This region is a key part of the global mining sector and it is important for Murray & Roberts to maintain a footprint in the region.
The preferred scenario is for Murray & Roberts to regain control of RUC and to retain this business as part of our multinational Mining platform and efforts in this regard are continuing.
However, should the Group not be able to regain control of RUC, Cementation APAC, a company recently established in Australia, will be developed and capacitated to provide engineering and contracting services to mining clients in APAC. The Cementation brand is well known in the global mining sector and the Group will target project opportunities in Australia, leveraging the capabilities of our existing businesses in North America (Cementation Americas) and in Sub-Saharan Africa (Murray & Roberts Cementation).
In this financial report, MRPL, Clough and RUC have been reported as discontinued operations and deconsolidated from the Group with effect from 5 December 2022. The comparative financial results for the year ended 30 June 2022 have been restated with MRPL and its subsidiaries, previously reported as continuing operations, now reported as discontinued operations.
Revenue and profit before interest and tax for continuing operations increased to R12,5 billion (FY2022: R8,8 billion*) and R91 million (FY2022: R82 million*) respectively. Earnings include a contribution from the Group’s investment in Bombela of R30 million (FY2022: R193 million), which the investment was disposed of during the second half of the year. Diluted continuing headline loss per share was 71 cents (FY2022: 47 cents*).
The Group recorded an attributable loss of R3 181 million (FY2022: R135 million profit) after accounting for the losses in Clough and the deconsolidation of MRPL, Clough and RUC. Following the deconsolidation, equity reduced to R1,8 billion (FY2022: R5,7 billion). Net asset value per share was R4 (FY2022: R13).
The Group reported a net debt position of R0,3 billion (FY2022: R1,1 billion), which marks a significant improvement over the prior year. The Group’s debt reduced by approximately R1,2 billion, following the application of the proceeds from the disposal of its investment in Bombela in April 2023.
Interest for the reporting period increased to R267 million (FY2022: R186 million*) and the tax charge was R106 million (FY2022: R74 million*). Interest is expected to reduce by circa R100 million per annum, as debt levels reduced post the disposal of Bombela. The tax charge is high, as a deferred tax asset could not be raised against interest and corporate costs incurred in South Africa.
The board of directors of the Company (“Board”) considers a dividend on an annual basis, post year end. Considering the Group’s current liquidity constraints, the Board resolved not to declare a dividend this year.
ORDER BOOK, NEAR ORDERS AND PROJECT PIPELINE
The Group reported an order book of R15,4 billion (FY2022: R17,6 billion*), and the decline in the Group’s order book can be attributed to a decline in the Murray & Roberts Cementation order book in South Africa. However, this business recorded a strong recovery in the fourth quarter of the financial year.
The past year was characterised by the significant disruption experienced by the Group and the platform as a result of MRPL and Clough being placed under voluntary administration, resulting in RUC being lost to the Mining platform. The multinational Mining platform now comprises two regional businesses in Africa and the Americas (USA and Canada). RUC, which focused on Australasia, was deconsolidated from the Group with effect from 5 December 2022.
Revenue increased to R11,1 billion (FY2022: R7,9 billion*) and operating profit increased to R313 million (FY2022: R234 million*). The order book reduced to R13,6 billion (FY2022: R17,2 billion*), reflecting the exclusion of the Arnot project, after the client entered into business rescue. Near orders decreased to R9,1 billion (FY2022: R14,3 billion*).
The improvement in platform earnings is due to strong growth recorded by Cementation Americas (USA and Canada), notwithstanding a reduced contribution from Murray & Roberts Cementation (Sub-Saharan Africa).
Cementation Americas recovered in a more normalised post-pandemic environment and delivered a significantly better performance compared to the prior year. The materials handling business, Terra Nova Technologies, is in a loss-making position due to its low order book and the delay in project awards, although several new projects were secured towards the end of the reporting period, creating a good baseload of work for the new financial year.
Murray & Roberts Cementation experienced a difficult year. Earnings were down compared to the prior year, mainly due to geological challenges at the Palabora shaft project, the business rescue impact of the Arnot project, and operational challenges at the Venetia project. There are several potential projects in the pipeline in South Africa, but mine owners seem to be delaying their investment decisions given the current economic and sociopolitical climate in the country. Countering this trend, the business recently secured two project awards, reversing the declining order book trend.
The Mining platform – now our core business – was the main contributor to Group earnings over the past few years and retains its global position as a leading mining services provider. The platform is expected to continue to deliver strong earnings in the near term as the decarbonisation of the global economy and specifically the energy transition gains pace, increasing demand for related commodities and, in turn, increasing demand for the diverse range of services provided by the platform.
Power, Industrial & Water Platform
This platform provides project services mainly to the power and energy market sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa. The focus for FY2023 was to position this business in the renewable energy sector, to grow a quality order book, and to return to profitability moving into FY2024 and FY2025.
Revenue increased to R1,3 billion (FY2022: R0,8 billion) and the platform recorded a significantly reduced operating loss of R47 million (FY2022: R155 million). As targeted projects from the Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme bid window 5 only reached financial close late in FY2023, secured projects had limited opportunity to accrue sufficient revenue to positively impact profitability for the year under review.
The order book increased to R1,8 billion (FY2022: R0,4 billion) following the award of renewable energy sector contracts to OptiPower Projects (“OptiPower”). Category 1 opportunities amounted to R9 billion (FY2022: R9,1 billion), reflective of opportunities in the renewable energy (solar and wind) and power transmission sectors.
South Africa’s constrained transmission and distribution infrastructure requires urgent investment to support additional generation capacity coming online. Eskom plans to build over 1 500km per year of 400kV overhead lines in South Africa into 2032, and OptiPower is one of a select group of contractors certified to build these overhead lines.
The Group expects that the current focus on increasing investment in utility scale renewable energy projects will enable the platform to return to profitability in FY2024.
Shareholders are referred to the SENS announcement of 4 April 2023, wherein the Group announced the sale of its 50% share in Bombela to Intertoll International Holdings B.V. The transaction was concluded at fair value of the investment in April 2023 and proceeds of approximately R1,2 billion were applied towards reducing the Group’s debt.
Following the loss of its businesses in Australia, Murray & Roberts emerged as a smaller Group, but we are committed to grow earnings from a pre-pandemic baseline. We will continue to deliver our projects with a specific emphasis on liquidity and operational efficiency. We are focused on reducing the Group’s debt and delivering value by achieving our business plan cashflow projections.
Even though the next few years will be difficult to navigate – Murray & Roberts is a Group with a future. We assure our stakeholders that the Board and the executive team are committed to creating shareholder value from the current low base; and to ensure that Murray & Roberts excels as a leading engineering and contracting services provider in the global mining sector and in its chosen power and energy market sector in Southern Africa.
Any forward-looking information contained in this announcement has not been reviewed and reported on by the Group’s external auditors.
*Please note that this media statement contains extracts from the full annual financial results for the year ended 30 June 2023 and should be read in conjunction with the full annual financial results available on www.murrob.com.
For further information contact:
Group Investor and Media Executive
This announcement includes certain various “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the US Securities Act 10 1933 and Section 21 E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that reflect the current views or expectations of the Board with respect to future events and financial and operational performance. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, those concerning: the Group’s strategy; the economic outlook for the industry; and the Group’s liquidity and capital resources and expenditure. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement and are not based on historical facts, but rather reflect the Group’s current expectations concerning future results and events and generally may be identified by the use of forward-looking words or phrases such as “believe”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “should”, “planned”, “may”, “potential” or similar words and phrases. The Group undertakes no obligation to update publicly or release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this announcement or to reflect the occurrence of any unexpected events. Neither the content of the Group’s website, nor any website accessible by hyperlinks on the Group’s website is incorporated in, or forms part of, this announcement.
About Murray & Roberts
Murray & Roberts is a leading engineering and contracting group of companies and focuses its expertise and capacity on delivering sustainable project engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, operations and maintenance solutions.
The Group delivers its capabilities into the resources (metals & minerals), industrial, energy and water sectors.
The Group disposed of its infrastructure businesses in April 2017 and no longer delivers any civil and building construction projects.
Murray & Roberts is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is listed on the JSE Limited. It has offices in:
a. South Africa, Zambia and Ghana
2. Australasia: a. Australia
3. North America:
a. USA and Canada
Murray & Roberts is a group of world-class companies and brands aligned to the same purpose and vision, and guided by the same set of values.
For more information about Murray & Roberts, please visit www.murrob.com