Engineering services outfit Waterman (WTM:AIM) gains 9% in early trading to 98p as its strategy to refocus on its core UK market continues to pay off.

Troubles in the Middle East after the financial crisis – including an inability to be paid on time – saw Waterman exit its operations in the region.

Now the UK represents 90% of the Southwark, London-based business' revenues and earnings per share increased a staggering 100% to 4p in the six months to 31 December 2015.

Management is targeting significant further improvements in the group's profitability, with an aspiration to increase operating margins from 4.1% today to 6% operating margin by June 2019.

Alongside the increase in margins in the first half of its financial year, Waterman also grew revenue 10% to £45.4 million.

WATERMAN GROUP - Comparison Line Chart (Rebased to first)

'Waterman is on target to exceed its previously declared financial objectives to triple adjusted annual profits-before-tax to £3.3m over the three year period to 30 June 2016, with a return on capital employed (ROCE) of 20%,' says chief executive Nick Taylor.

He adds: 'Waterman's long-standing relationships with blue chip companies continue to generate repeat business year on year and the board expects this to continue whilst the UK economy is strong.'

Issue Date: 29 Feb 2016