ABO-Group - Half Year Results 2018

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Ghent, 14 September 2018 – 5.30 p.m. – Press Release / Regulated Information

ABO-Group, an engineering firm specializing in construction, environment and energy, today announces its 2018 consolidated financial half-year results.

The geotechnical division, which accounts for more than 80% of revenue, experienced a difficult start in 2018. Numerous external factors (long winter period, cancellation of projects connected with Grand Paris, and social unrest in France, leading customers to postpone projects) made an efficient planning extremely challenging. This led to an increase in non-billable hours. Nevertheless, the order book was, and still is, well filled. The environmental division reported a double-digit growth.

Belgium reported an organic growth of 3%, driven by strong growth at Geosonda (geotechnical and environmental fieldwork), Translab (measurement of asbestos in ambient air) and the international activities (completion of Uganda project). ABO NV’s soil division reported a downturn due to internal movements at the Brussels and Namèche offices. The archaeology and environmental divisions were further expanded and recorded a matching revenue growth.

The Dutch construction market is experiencing a persistently vigorous macroeconomic momentum. All divisions (consulting as well as fieldwork) reported a solid revenue growth. An organic growth of more than 15% was realized. The group invested more than €0.6 million in high-tech drilling and probing equipment during the first six months.

The group reported an overall 2.75% organic revenue growth.

The fall in revenue reported by traditional mainstays of the group (ERG Géotechnique and ABO NV) is reflected in lower contributions of those entities to various result levels. At the same time, the group focused on attracting new staff with the necessary experience in order to keep the road open to further growth. The labour costs increased by €0.4 million. The figures for the first six months of 2017 contained a non-recurring contribution of €350k (as a result of a reversal of provisions for disputes). This qualifies the decrease in EBITDA from €2,509k to €2,046k (€0.19 per share). The change in product mix and the extra costs for the expansion of the group are also reflected in the operating profit (decrease from €1,233k to €750k). A better financial result, in combination with a lower taxable profit, has led to a smaller nominal decrease in net profit. The net profit (group share) fell from €617k to €326k.

The group invested €1.5 million in the acquisition and lease of machines. As a result, the net financial debt increased from €7.9 million at year-end 2017 to €9.4 million at mid-2018. The total equity of the group amounts to €14 million, with a balance sheet total of €40 million. There was a net growth in the number of staff (in FTE) from 351 to 357.

Despite a weaker first half of the year, ABO-Group confirms its medium-term ambition of double-digit organic and acquisitive revenue growth. Focus is on the organic expansion of the product offering (towards infrastructure, stability, urban development, etc), machinery (sonic drilling techniques), and tapping into new growth markets (Scandinavia). The group also continues to seek to strengthen its market position in the home countries Belgium, the Netherlands and France through acquisitions. The group screens the market on an ongoing basis, in search of businesses that fit into its strategy.

The order book of ABO-Group is well-filled in each of its markets. This leads us to expect a better second half of the year, based on a high-quality execution of orders. For 2018, the group focuses on achieving a year-on-year higher revenue and higher net profit.

In France, construction of the new multipurpose and green office building in Marseille (Vitrolles, near the airport and high-speed rail link) is progressing well. Completion is due at the beginning of 2019. The group also continues to invest fully in its fieldwork divisions. In the second half of the year, a number of new state-of-the-art machines will be added to the group’s facilities, which should bring in extra orders. The laboratory activities in Belgium are also due to start up shortly.

The group is looking into the commercial structure of its international division. The idea is to operate on a cross-border basis so that the best skills can be made available to the customer in a complex project. ABO Belgium will open a new office in West Flanders on 1 October. The group regards local presence as a factor that strengthens the relationship with the customer. After the balance sheet date of 30/06, ABO NV decided to dispose of its stake in Esher BVBA. This will have no significant impact on revenue and/or result. On the other hand, as of 1 July the group acquired an additional 9.3% interest in Sialtech BV.

29/03/2019: 2018 annual figures29/05/2019: General Meeting

Frank De Palmenaer, CEO, and Johan Reybroeck, CFO, declare that, to their knowledge, the interim condensed consolidated financial information for the six-month period ending 30 June 2018, which was prepared in accordance with IAS 34 “Interim Financial Reporting” as approved by the European Union, gives a true and fair view of the assets, the financial position and the results of the company and the companies included in the consolidation. The interim report gives a fair overview of the most significant events and key transactions with related parties that have taken place during the first six months of the financial year and their effect on the interim condensed financial information, as well as a description of the most significant risks and uncertainties for the remaining months of the financial year.

ABO-Group is a company listed on Euronext Brussels, specializing in consultancy & engineering, testing & monitoring in the areas of construction, environment and energy. ABO-Group endeavours to offer its customers a sustainable solution in its three home countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and France) and internationally.

A more detailed description of the group’s activities can be found on the website of ABO-Group ().

Frank De Palmenaer                                                           Johan Reybroeck                              CEO ABO-Group Environment NV                                     CFO ABO-Group Environment NV                                      T +32 9 242 88 88 Maaltecenter Blok G, Derbystraat 255,B-9051 Ghent (SDW), Belgium

This press release is available on our website .

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Globe Newswire: 12:35 GMT Friday 14th September 2018

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