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Excell looking to grow after returning to profit

Friday 17th October 2003

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Infrastructure maintenance company Excell said today it is looking to expand after recovering from a cash crisis two years ago, helped in part by a cash injection from entrepreneur Eric Watson.

Excell, which is now 100% owned by Watson's Cullen Investments, said today it had "experienced a $50 million turnaround in performance over the past two years".

The company faced big problems with the collapse of 50% shareholder, construction company Hartner Group, in early 2001 . Hartner Group and Hartner Construction owed more than 400 creditors at least $23 million.

Excell chief executive David Geor said the company had just posted a strong year-end profit, "more than doubling last year's result on turnover of $130 million, and is looking to improve that by 30% in the current year".

Geor said the turnaround in the company's fortunes was due to a focus on core competencies and a turnaround plan that included a disciplined financial programme, and strengthened contract management.

The financial programme included a change of focus from top line growth to sustainable earnings, efficiency gains, and the sale or closure of loss making businesses.

"Excell's sole shareholder, Cullen Investments, has been very supportive during this period and contributed new capital as well as strong governance principles", Geor said in a statement.

Watson is reported to have contributed $37.5 million during Excell's restructuring.

Geor said a reinvestment in fleet vehicles and technology had lifted South Auckland-based Excell's performance.

Excell manages and maintains public and private sector assets such as parks, recreational facilities, buildings, roads, water networks and waste management systems.

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