09/11/2011 - 09:52

SKM ponders new structures

09/11/2011 - 09:52

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SKM ponders new structures

COULD one of the state’s biggest professional services firms be on the cusp of breaking new corporate ground?

It is understood the equity holders of major engineering, environment and technical consulting firm Sinclair Knight Merz are considering the results of a significant review of their business, including the possibility of restructuring the business to allow for more growth capital.

SKM shareholders, of whom there are more than 680, are due to convene at the firm’s annual general meeting in about a fortnight. All the shareholders are employees of the business, representing about 10 per cent of its workforce.

While Sydney-based SKM was holding its internal deliberations close to its chest, public documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission signal that the business has laid the foundations for change.

A prospectus lodged by unlisted public company Sinclair Knight Merz Holdings (SKMH), the parent company of the group, explains the ongoing capital structure review.

“The group is currently reviewing its overall capital structure and broader strategic direction following completion of the company’s
shareholder engagement program,” the
document stated.

However, it also stated that the results of the review may or may not lead to the group changing its structure or adopting other strategic initiatives.

“SKM is an unlisted private company. Its shares are owned by employees only and are not traded on the Australian Securities Exchange or any other such exchange,” a spokesman said.

“Under its share plan, shares are allocated and traded once a year between existing employees preparing for retirement or leaving the firm and employees who gain promotion or are being recruited. 

“While the company has no specific plans or proposals for any major transaction or merger with another at this time, it is considering whether or not it might investigate such a transaction as part of its medium to long-term growth strategy.”

According to ASIC records, SKMH’s ultimate holding company is Sinclair Knight Merz Management. 

Accounts attached to the prospectus show SKMH declared a consolidated after-tax profit of $100.6 million for the year ending June 26, almost identical to the previous year, on the back of revenue of $1.09 billion, up from $986 million.

The group’s net assets were $308.3 million, up from $283.2 million the previous year. 

According to the WA Business News ‘Book of Lists’, SKM ranks among Western Australia’s biggest employers with 1,500 people working in the state, including about 650 engineers working from five different WA offices.

 

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