(Montreal) The big boss of the engineering firm WSP Global says he sees no sign of a slowdown in activity, but his employees are less tempted to go see if the grass is greener elsewhere as the market for job is tempered.
Asked by an analyst if he saw any signs of the effect of a potential economic slowdown in certain segments of the company, President and Chief Executive Officer Alexandre L’Heureux seemed almost embarrassed that he could not example, during a conference call with financial analysts on Thursday.
I understand that it’s an almost schizophrenic economic environment. You watch the headlines [négatives] and you wonder what the impact is on the ground in our industry. I must say that at this stage, we do not see any pockets of weakness.
Alexandre L’Heureux, President and CEO of WSP Global
As a possible consequence of the economic context, the Montreal company is nevertheless seeing signs of a moderation in the job market with a drop in the turnover rate of its employees. “We saw a significant decrease in turnover in the fourth quarter,” said L’Heureux.
After a jump in the turnover rate that affected the industry, this lull is good news, according to him. “It’s expensive, it’s expensive to manage the replacement of departures. […] We are not at the pre-pandemic threshold, but we are approaching it. »
Results above expectations
WSP unveiled Wednesday, after the close of markets, financial results above analysts’ expectations for its fourth quarter.
The company posted a profit of 120 million, down 5.3% from the same period a year earlier, despite a 23.2% growth in revenue.
The company said operating profit rose, but higher depreciation and acquisition costs ate into net profit.
Adjusted earnings per share were $1.68 compared to $1.46 for the same period last year. Prior to the earnings release, analysts had expected earnings per share of $1.55, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.
“The fourth quarter marks another strong quarter with strong organic growth and record quarterly cash flow,” said analyst Michael Tupholme, TD Securities. Additionally, the company unveiled a 2023 guidance that suggests very healthy revenue growth and improved margins. »
For 2023, the company anticipates net revenue of between $10.0 billion and $10.6 billion and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in a range of between $1.76 billion and 1. 84 billion. In 2022, net revenue was 9 billion and adjusted EBITDA had reached 1.53 billion.
WSP also announced that the former senior executive of the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec Macky Tall would be proposed by the company as a candidate for the title of administrator, during the shareholders’ meeting to be held in May.
WSP shares gained $5.52, or 3.16%, at $180.05 in the morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.