MONTREAL, Jan. 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- WSP Global Inc. (TSX: WSP) ("WSP" or the “Corporation”) today released the highlights of its three-year strategic plan (the “2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan”) setting the stage for the next three years of the Corporation’s growth. A presentation of the 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan is available at www.wsp.com in the Investor section, under Presentations & Events.

“Our 2015-2018 performance has allowed us to build strong foundations for the future. Our financial strength, agility and diversification have put us in an enviable position to seize opportunities as they emerge. Today, I am proud to unveil our 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan, designed to achieve our goal of building the premier professional consultancy in our industry. By achieving the ambitions set out in this plan, we will generate net revenues of $8 to $9 billion, increase our headcount by 35% and adjusted EBITDA by 50% by the end of 2021,” said Alexandre L’Heureux, President and Chief Executive Officer of WSP. “As such, in the next cycle, through our focused acquisition and organic growth strategies, we will not only see growth in our expertise in terms of headcount and skill-set, but in the scope and scale of our projects, our geographic presence and of course our client base.”

Rooted in its Guiding Principles, WSP’s 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan will see the continued evolution of the Corporation’s four foundational pillars (Clients, People & Culture, Operational Excellence and Expertise) to support continued profitable growth and the advancement of WSP’s global client service capabilities.

Clients
Through its 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan, WSP aims to set the standard of client experience in the industry. This plan includes several initiatives to ensure the Corporation continues to better understand its clients, to deliver exceptional value to clients and to become its clients’ partner of choice through initiatives such as “Future Ready”. This, in turn, will help drive organic growth, cross-sell and increase client satisfaction. By 2021, WSP will aim to achieve $8 to $9 billion in net revenues, balanced between organic and acquisition growth.

People & Culture
WSP’s people will continue to be the primary engine of its growth, since the Corporation’s success is attributable to the elite expertise and commercial abilities of its professionals, forged by their profound understanding of the local markets within which they operate. To this end, WSP is committed to providing its 48,000 people with an environment to deliver on their full potential, investing in them and leveraging the power of effective teamwork.  As such, the firm will continue to make extraordinary efforts to attract, lead, develop and retain the best professionals and will spare no effort to engage its leaders and increase their sense of belonging to WSP. This, in turn, will help further improve people turnover, succession planning, and gender balance.

Operational Excellence
Operational excellence has been at the core of WSP’s performance in the 2015-2018 period. Over the next three years, the Corporation will continue to make it a priority, operating effectively to achieve the highest standards of client service and project delivery, while continuing to invest in its project management capability and its design process. This should translate into improved country and Group corporate costs.  By 2021, WSP aims to generate 11.5% to 12.5% adjusted EBITDA margins. Moreover, WSP is committed to continually integrate a high standard of ethical behaviour, as well as health and safety practices within all the work it does, while reducing the environmental impact of its operations.

Expertise
Currently ranked among the Top 5 International Global Firms and generating approximately 90% of its net revenues from OECD countries, WSP will drive growth by adapting and broadening its offering and its distribution capabilities to reach more global clients and international markets, thus strengthening its balanced and resilient platform. This will be achieved through both organic growth and a focused and disciplined acquisition strategy.

The Corporation will capitalize on regions where it has an existing significant leadership position, such as Canada, the UK, the Nordics, and New Zealand and will actively drive its presence in geographies such as the United States, Continental Europe, Australia, and South East Asia, where significant opportunities for growth exist.

In parallel, WSP will aim to strengthen its leadership position in Transportation & Infrastructure, and Property & Buildings.  Through smart diversification, it will also strive to grow in sectors such as Environment, Water, Power, Industry and Resources (including Mining), where there is an opportunity for strategic growth and elevating brand awareness.

Finally, WSP will continue to do what it does best by building on its elite expertise in Engineering & Design, while getting closer to its clients by further investing in its Strategic Advisory Services, such as Planning and Advisory Services, Management Services, Technology, and Sustainability Services.

As such, by the end of 2021, WSP aims to have developed an even more diversified business across geographies, sectors and services.

Financial Performance
WSP will measure its performance by targeting the following metrics:

 2018 AMBITIONS2021 AMBITIONS
Net revenues$CAD 6 billion$CAD 8 to 9 billion
Annual growth (organic and acquisitions)Above 10%Above 10%
Adjusted EBITDA margins11%11.5% to 12.5%
Days Sales OutstandingBelow 85 daysBelow 80 days
Net debt/adjusted EBITDA ratio1.5x to 2.0x1.5x to 2.5x
Employees48,000 65,000

These financial ambitions provided on January 30, 2019, as part of the presentation of the 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan, are meant to assist analysts and shareholders in formalizing their respective views on the Corporation’s Strategy. The reader is cautioned that using this information for other purposes may be inappropriate. These measures are subject to change. The target ranges presented above were prepared assuming no fluctuations in foreign exchange rate in markets in which the Corporation operates. The Corporation considered numerous economic and market assumptions regarding the competition, political environment and economic performance of each region where it operates. In preparing its 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan forecast, the Corporation also assumed that economic factors and market competition in regions where it operates would remain stable.

Conference call and Webcast
WSP will discuss its 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan during a conference call to be held on January 30, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

To participate in the conference call, dial 1-647-427-2309 or 1-866-521-4907 (toll-free).  The conference call and slideshow presentation will also be broadcasted live and archived in the Investor section of the WSP website (www.wsp.com).

NON IFRS MEASURES
The Corporation reports its financial results in accordance with IFRS.  However, the following non-IFRS measures are used by the Corporation: net revenues; EBITDA; adjusted EBITDA; adjusted EBITDA margin; days sales outstanding (or DSO) and net debt to adjusted EBITDA.  Additional details for these non-IFRS measures can be found in WSP’s MD&A, which is posted on WSP’s website at www.wsp.com, and filed with SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Management believes that these non-IFRS measures provide useful information to investors regarding the Corporation’s financial condition and results of operations as they provide key metrics of its performance.  These non-IFRS measures are not recognized under IFRS, do not have any standardized meaning prescribed under IFRS and may differ from similar computations as reported by other issuers, and accordingly may not be comparable.  These measures should not be viewed as a substitute for the related financial information prepared in accordance with IFRS.

ABOUT WSP
As one of the world's leading professional services firms, WSP provides technical expertise and strategic advice to clients in the Transportation & Infrastructure, Property & Buildings, Environment, Industry, Resources (including Mining and Oil & Gas) and Energy sectors, as well as offering project and program delivery and advisory services. Our experts include engineers, advisors, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. With approximately 48,000 talented people globally, we are uniquely positioned to deliver successful and sustainable projects, wherever our clients need us. www.wsp.com 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
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. 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. 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, 2017, 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.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Isabelle Adjahi
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications
WSP Global Inc.
Tel: (438) 843-7548
isabelle.adjahi@wsp.com