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Atkins headcount stabilises on back of Middle East gains

Headcount at Atkins is expected to stabilise as Middle East operations bolster the company’s strong financial position, it said today.

Posting an interim management statement for the period from 1 April to today, the global engineering consultancy said:  “With added resilience brought to the UK business by its support for the group’s Middle East operations, we expect our overall headcount in the UK to stabilise broadly around current levels.”

It comes after a restructuring programme led to the company shedding close to 1,000 jobs October 2010 to April 2011. In its annual results to the year ended 31 March, the firm said UK revenue dropped 5.8 per cent from £983.5 million to £926.5m, and it there will be a focus on managing headcount.

The group said today that its financial position remains strong, with net funds of around £75m at the end of June.

It said the highways and transportation business has begun the year well, with a modest increase in activity. The firm said timing of rail contract awards is likely to affect the second quarter workload, although it is confident of landing work in the next lot of major signalling framework contracts later this year.

The firm added that its water business continues to benefit from increased activity under the various AMP5 investment programmes, along with work on the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

Looking ahead, the firm said:  “Our diversified exposure to a range of end markets and geographies provides us continued resilience in the face of challenging macroeconomic conditions.  Notwithstanding the challenges we face, the overall outlook for the group remains unchanged since our final results announcement in June 2011.”

Elsewhere, the Middle East infrastructure remains a source of growth, North America has seen slow progress and Asia Pacific and Europe business is trading in line with expectations. Integrartion of Pöyry’s oil and gas engineering design and operational support businesses following the £15.4m acquisition in June.

Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke retired from the role at the end of July and has been replaced by Dr Uwe Krueger.


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