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Atkins increases energy headcount, but warns of ‘weak’ US market

WS Atkins says the good start to the year for the UK business has continued, with work starting on 2012 legacy infrastructure.

In a trading statement, the design and engineering consultancy says the second quarter has been consistent with the outlook at its last interim management statement.

Group headcount is up to 17,700, from 17,420 in March, with notable growth in energy, a sector which Atkins says is “bouyant”.

According to the firm, however, market conditions in North America are “weak”, leading to cost-reduction actions and initiatives to “right-size our resources in the region”.

The Middle Eastern performance is expected to reflect project delays and “lengthy contract variation negotiations”, along with an increased working capital requirement.

Asia-Pacific and Europe are trading in line with expectations, with Scandinavia in particular performing well.

Atkins says the firm’s new partnership with Areva in the UK nuclear market “puts us in a strong position to target decommissioning, waste management and clean up opportunities”.

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