ESG Announces Strong Financial Results for 2014 and Refinancing Programme to Support Further Growth

15 June 2015

ESG, the UK’s leading provider of testing, inspection and compliance services, has today reported strong organic growth in sales and profits for the year to 31 December 2014, with sales growing by 3.8 per cent to £77.3m and underlying profits before exceptionals, increasing by 14 per cent to £8.4m.

The business, which is backed by 3i, is focussed on long-term expansion and invested £5m in 2014, of which £3.1m was in capital projects and £1.9m in targeted growth initiatives. Recent investments have included a £1m investment in IT infrastructure, including the launch of numerous mobile applications to improve efficiency for clients, and the development of a UKAS accredited methodology for hair toxicology, supported by the £200,000 purchase of Shimadzu testing equipment.

In order to continue investing in growth initiatives and also fund strategic acquisitions in key sectors, the company has secured a new five year facility (c. £30m total committed facilities) from its existing lending group. This refinancing will enable it to make additional investments in enhancing its technical capabilities and services, allowing it to further diversify its offering to benefit existing and prospective clients.

2014 Highlights:

  • Growth in its specialist laboratory, consultancy and field-based services led the business to expand its highly skilled and experienced workforce by nearly 100 employees in 2014, taking the total team to over 1,300 spread across 30 sites throughout the UK   
  • Research and development to reduce the build cost of offshore wind farms, for DONG Energy, helping to reduce the costs of renewable energy
  • Helping the UK to meet its carbon emissions targets with capabilities in biomass and energy from waste - supporting power generation clients in assessing the quality of their input materials
  • A recent contract award to test, inspect and help keep the environment safe in 8,000 government owned buildings strengthened the company’s national footprint and capability
  • Appointment to technical procurement specialist, LHC’s, AS1 Asbestos Works and Services framework in Scotland
  • Contract secured with Keltbray Piling Limited, to provide foundation testing services for the new Elephant and Castle regeneration project on the Newington Butts site
  • Secured a ten year contract with Sellafield Ltd to provide radiochemical, chemical and asbestos analysis in relation to their on-site decommissioning and site investigation projects
  • Over 6.7 million tests performed in total by ESG in 2014

2014 also saw ESG’s executive team refine its strategy, confirming the client’s place at the centre of the business, in order to expand its leading positions in testing, inspection and compliance for Infrastructure, Built Environment and Energy & Waste clients. Through its commitment to continual investment, ESG combines market-leading technology with a client partnership approach that is seeing the company lead the industry in terms of innovation and growth.

ESG attributes its success to not only delivering industry-leading quality and turnaround times, but also to its development of long-term partnerships with clients, assisting and supporting them through critical operational processes.

Ian Sparks, CEO at ESG comments: “We are particularly delighted with the strong growth performance in 2014 as it marked a year of investment and also saw the development of a long-term expansion plan for ESG. The combination of continuing organic growth and specific growth from investments is providing ESG with great confidence for 2015 and the longer term. 

“As we look to the future, we want to ensure that we are best placed to continually invest in the right people and the most innovative technology to ensure our market-leading position as a testing and professional business service provider.

“We are focussed on high growth markets, so have built strategic acquisitions into the company’s long-term growth plans to ensure our capabilities are maximised in these sectors. The confidence shown by our banks and investors in supporting our new financing structure and our acquisition funding provides us with a solid platform for continued growth.”

ESG has made a promising start to 2015, with high-profile agreements including securing a five year contract to continue fuel testing and analysis at the Drax energy generation plant. The company also continues to lead the industry in terms of innovation, as demonstrated by the recent launch of its Silas app for geotechnical specialists, part of its ongoing investment in IT.