WSP Global Inc. WSPT says it is quitting its projects in Russia and will stop seeking out work in that country or Belarus following the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent economic sanctions.
“While we have a limited number of ongoing assignments and involving projects in Russia, we have decided to exit such assignments, for which we have a non-material exposure,” CEO Alexandre L’Heureux told analysts Thursday, saying the company is “deeply troubled by the conflict.”
“Furthermore, we will no longer be pursuing any further assignments in Russia.”
The company has no employees or offices in Russia, Belarus or Ukraine, he said. Its economic exposure there is expected to be under $1-million.
The engineering firm joins a growing list of Canadian companies exiting Russia or suspending plans, sales or operations there, including auto-parts maker Magna International Inc. MG-T, Kinross Gold Corp. K-T, McCain Foods Ltd. and Canada Goose GOOS-T.
The decision came as WSP unveiled a three-year strategic plan that aims to boost net revenues by more than 30 per cent and adjusted earnings by 40 per cent by 2024.
L’Heureux said he hopes to leverage the talent and scale gained via recent acquisitions, including environmental consulting firm Golder last year, to drive higher prices and efficiency.
“Our margin profile for the improvement is not about cost cutting,” he said. “We are in a position to charge more for our services.”
Over the next three years, WSP aims to grow its presence in several of its top segments, including environment. It also hopes to boost its activities in the power, energy, water and industry sectors while slightly reducing transportation exposure.
The company also plans to ratchet up “front end” consulting and strategic advisory work, which typically offers higher margins, and notch down engineering and design services to about 50 per cent exposure from the current 55 per cent.
For 2022, WSP forecasts net revenue of between $8.25-billion and $8.75-billion, organic net revenue growth of between three and six per cent and adjusted earnings of roughly $1.6-billion.
WSP reported profits attributable to shareholders of $136.7-million or $1.08 per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a profit of $68.9-million or 61 cents per share a year earlier.
Revenue in the company’s fourth quarter totalled $2.89-billion, up from $2.25-billion in the last three months of 2020.
On an adjusted basis, the Montreal-based firm said it earned $1.46 per share, up from an adjusted profit of 82 cents per share a year earlier.
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