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World Cup boost helps WSP profits

FINANCE

WORKLOAD in South Africa at consultant WSP was boosted by the country's success in winning the race to host the 2010 football World Cup.

WSP, which lifted pre-tax profits £2.2 million to £8.8 million in the first half of this year, is the third biggest consultant in South Africa.

Chief executive Chris Cole said: 'The World Cup has created a stimulus to the economy.

South Africa is a very good business for us ? the only problem is that you get a lot of rand to the pound.

'We're working on preliminary designs for a couple of stadiums, some casinos and the main interstate highway between Durban and Johnannesburg.' Property work provided half of WSP's first half turnover of £181.8 million ? up from £161.5 million a year ago ? with £53.7 million-worth of work coming from the transport sector, including jobs in Poland and Sweden.

Mr Cole added: 'The commercial sector in the UK is fairly quiet. There's a lot of room there but it is beginning to come back. We are doing more front-end work, so the situation is getting better.

'In the UK, transport has been a bit quiet but we're really busy in Sweden, where we're the biggest transport consultant.' WSP also works in the environmental sector, which produced £20.1 million-worth of turnover in the f irst half of 2005.