MONTREAL, April 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- WSP Global Inc. (TSX: WSP) (“WSP” or the “Corporation”) today provided an update on its activities and the measures it has taken in light of the impacts of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic.
In response to the pandemic, the Corporation has implemented business continuity plans to ensure the safety of its people. The Corporation’s global work force operates in a number of countries with most of its people having now transitioned remotely. Leveraging its technology investments, its people are collaborating to deliver projects and pursue new assignments. In most of WSP’s major hubs, many of the services or projects are considered as essential services and the Corporation has, to date, maintained good productivity levels. Although it has observed the start of a slowdown with some delayed projects, WSP’s clients have thus far generally remained committed to their projects, particularly in the public sector which accounted for 56% of 2019 net revenues and where WSP has secured new assignments. In addition, the Corporation has, since early March, seen an improvement in its operations in Hong Kong and mainland China.
“As the situation continues to evolve, our first objective has been to ensure the health of our employees and their families, of our clients and of the communities in which we operate. As of today, most of our people around the globe are working remotely, allowing us to continue to support our clients efficiently. In parallel, our leadership teams are fully engaged and have implemented tailored regional business continuity plans aimed at supporting our clients and business partners as they navigate these unprecedented times. While the full impact and duration of the COVID-19 outbreak is difficult to predict, we believe that WSP’s diversified business model, from both a geographic and sector standpoint, its strong public-sector practice and its regionally-empowered leadership model should place the Corporation in a solid position to face these challenges,” said Alexandre L’Heureux, WSP’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are also proud to see our experts contribute to the fight against COVID-19. In Montreal, members of our team are working on a project for an emergency isolation room expansion of the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and in the United States, our team is supporting the US Postal Service for the complete facility sanitization of the Westchester New York Mail Processing and Distribution Center. WSP was also retained in the UK, and in other regions of the world, to support with design and advisory services for a number of health care facilities,” he added.
In anticipation of the challenges ahead, the Corporation has proactively implemented measures to adjust its cost structures and has postponed all non-essential capital expenditures. WSP is closely following developments in each of the regions in which it operates and will consider additional initiatives as the situation evolves. Although the Corporation’s first quarter results are not expected to be materially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, WSP recognizes the unprecedented uncertainty it is facing and believes it prudent to withdraw the 2020 financial outlook provided on February 26, 2020.
On the balance sheet front, as of December 31, 2019, WSP had a low debt level, with its net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio at 1.1 times and $910.1 million of borrowings available under its credit facility. In fiscal 2019, a significant portion of WSP’s net revenues were derived from the public sector (in particular within the transportation & infrastructure sector), which should, together with its strong balance sheet, well position the Corporation to benefit from future stimulus programs expected to be deployed in OECD countries, where WSP generated approximately 90% of its net revenues in 2019.
Mr. L’Heureux concluded by saying: “I would like to thank our employees and clients for their continued support in those unprecedented times. I am confident that our strong client base, our empowered regional model and our proactive measures will ensure that, together, we resiliently weather these challenging times.”
As one of the world’s leading professional services firms, WSP provides engineering and design services to clients in the Transportation & Infrastructure, Property & Buildings, Environment, Power & Energy, Resources and Industry sectors, as well as offering strategic advisory services. WSP experts include engineers, advisors, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, environmental specialists and surveyors, in addition to other design, program and construction management professionals. With talented people around the globe, WSP is uniquely positioned to deliver successful and sustainable projects, wherever clients need us. wsp.com
Certain information regarding WSP contained herein may constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements may include estimates, plans, expectations, opinions, forecasts, projections, guidance or other statements that are not statements of fact, including statements regarding the sufficiency of WSP’s liquidity and working capital requirements for the foreseeable future and WSP's expectation regarding timing of a revised outlook. Although WSP believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. These statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and may be based on assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements, including risks relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. WSP's forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. The complete version of the cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements as well as a description of the relevant assumptions and risk factors likely to affect WSP's actual or projected results are included in the Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2019, which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date hereof and WSP does not assume any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise unless expressly required by applicable securities laws.
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