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Atkins 'well prepared' after 12pc profit jump

Atkins saw pre-tax profits rise 12 per cent rise in the 12 months to 31 March 2009 and said it was “well prepared to respond to fluctuations, both positive and negative, in all markets”.

Pre-tax profit at the consultant reached £102.7 million, up from £91.9 million the previous year. Turnover increased 13 per cent to £1.49 billion compared with £1.31 billion the year before.

Atkin’s staff numbers peaked at 18,600 in November 2008, although the firm was forced to make 1,200 redundancies in the last quarter, costing £10 million in redundancy payments.

Bosses said Atkins starts the new financial year in a good position with work in hand representing 54 per cent of the firm’s budgeted revenue – at this stage last year Atkins had 55 per cent of its work in hand.

Atkins chairman Ed Wallis said: “We are pleased to report another successful year.

“The continued development of the group and the improvement in operating margins have been achieved against the backdrop of a challenging economic environment in the second half of the year.

“We start the new financial year in a good position. The majority of our markets are stable and we are well placed to navigate through the challenging overall economic environment. We have a strong balance sheet and will continue to invest in developing the business.”

He added: “The macro-economic climate varies significantly across our diverse range of markets.

“The majority are relatively stable but some uncertainties remain in our UK building design business and confidence has yet to fully return in the Middle East.

“We are, however, well prepared to respond to fluctuations, both positive and negative, in all our markets.”

Meanwhile in a separate announcement, Atkins announced that James Morley senior independent director and chairman of the audit committee, will retire from the board 30 June.

Joanne Curin, who joined the board as a non-executive director on 10 February 2009, will takeover the chair of the audit committee on 30 June 2009.

Lord Boyce will assume the role of senior independent director, also on 30 June.