14 Apr 2010

Opus cautiously upbeat about upturn

7:27 am on 14 April 2010

Opus International Consultants remains cautiously upbeat about a government spending-led recovery this year and says it's actively looking for acquisitions in Australia and Canada.

Chief executive Kevin Thompson told about 60 shareholders at the annual meeting of the infrastructure company in Wellington on Tuesday, he would not give a earnings forecast, as the future remains cloudy.

Opus' profit increased 6% to $18.6 million last year, by axing 133 jobs, reducing working hours and wages and cutting capital expenditure in response to the global downturn.

Dr Thompson says Britain remains troublesome, with talk of a double dip recession, but its operations look brighter in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

He says government-driven infrastructure projects offer opportunities to expand in growing regions such as Western Australia and New South Wales and Canada, rather than Britain.

However, the company remains reliant on its New Zealand operations, mainly in roading, for the bulk of returns.