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New executives signal global push at Atkins

FINANCE - Firm says 'in strong position' in Middle East construction after reorganisation

ATK INS has re-organised its executive group to reflect a push into overseas markets after the firm reported a 25 per cent rise in operating profits and strong revenue growth in the Middle East and China.

In an internal note to staff, chief executive Keith Clarke said the firm was changing its group executive 'to ensure that we have the right leadership team in place as we plan for our future growth as an international organisation, not a UKcentric one'.

The appointments include Richard Deacon to a new role as managing director, Europe, responsible for driving new business in Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Poland and Sweden. Meanwhile, Tim Askew joins the executive as managing director, Middle East and India, and Samson Sin joins as managing director, China.

Improved margins and strong growth at its engineering and design business and in the Middle East helped Atkins push up operating profits to £62.9 million in the year to March, up from £50.2 million.

The firm has also acquired management consultancy Mantix Group for £8.75 million, which will boost its position in the Government and financial services sector.

Shares in Atkins rose by 6 per cent as the firm unveiled results showing its operating margins increased to 6 per cent from 5.3 per cent, an increase in its staff numbers by over 1,000 to around 15,000 and the start of a recovery in its rail business. Group pre-tax profits rose to £74.8 million from £53 million on total revenues up by 22 per cent to £1.4 billion.

Chief executive Keith Clarke said the outlook for the group remained positive, with demand for Atkins' services strong in all its markets. Its order book is strong, with work in hand equal to 62 per cent of its budgeted revenue, and the firm raised its dividend by a third.

In the Middle East and China, Atkins' revenues jumped by 53 per cent to £67.1 million. Margins in the Middle East were good but its Chinese operation only broke even.