JSE-listed engineering and construction group Murray & Roberts (M&R) said on Wednesday that its “low” order book of R26.9-billion was reflective of tough conditions in the natural resources markets it serves internationally. However, the company described the near- and medium-term outlook as being more promising.
M&R reported lower results for 2017 when compared with 2016 and was still emerging from a major restructuring process, which included the sale of its Southern African infrastructure and building businesses to a Southern Palace-led consortium on April 1.
The group announced a sharp fall in attributable earnings to R48-million, from R753-million in 2016, with revenue from continuing operations falling 15% to R20.8-billion. M&R’s Middle East business incurred a loss of R570-million during the year.
CEO Henry Laas acknowledged in a statement that the size of the order book was cause for some apprehension.
He stressed, however, that near orders were looking robust, while the medium-term project pipeline was strong, especially for its underground mining and the oil and gas businesses.
“The natural resources market sector is cyclical and leading researchers are of the opinion that the metals and minerals cycle has already turned – and our assessment is that the group is well positioned for the upcycle,” Laas said.
There could still be future losses from its remaining noncore businesses, being its construction and building unit in the Middle East and Genrec, but M&R said its financial performance should improve in 2018.