Gulf tourists boost Atkins’ sales and profits

Engineering consultant Atkins enjoyed solid year-end results, mainly on the back of public sector contracts in design and engineering and strong growth in the middle east.

Sales grew 10 per cent last year to £1.05bn, with operating profits up by a quarter to £63m.

The robust performance came despite ongoing difficulties at Metronet — responsible for the upgrading London‘s Circle, District and Central underground lines — in which Atkins has a 20 per cent stake.

Metronet was fined £2.5m by London Underground in May for track defects and delays in refurbishing stations. Atkins admitted the operational performance of Metronet remains ‘inconsistent’ and ‘lags behind original expectations.’

Metronet aside, Atkins secured contracts throughout the year which resulted in a 17 per cent increase in revenue from the design and engineering sectors. These include substantial long-term contracts for AWE and The Carbon Trust in its nuclear and power division, a stream of work from Southern Water and Thames Water and an ongoing relationship with the MoD and Airbus.

By far the most important piece of new business, according to the company, was being selected as a Tier 1 consultant for the design of the London Olympic Park and its associated infrastructure. The group has also won the design commission for Genesis, which at 225,000 tonnes will be the world’s largest passenger liner.

The sharp growth in tourism to the Gulf States saw Atkins’ revenue increase by 53 per cent in the middle east through project wins such as the Palm Resort and BurjDubaiLake hotels in Dubai. The company is also currently completing work on the Bahrain World Trade Centre.

Atkins said the need for improved infrastructure suggests the middle east transportation sector is another growth area, with a number of promising projects and enquiries relating to road and rail in the region.

The company claimed investment in China is set to accelerate as urbanisation, which has so far affected just a third of the country, continues. Its plan is to concentrate on infrastructure projects in specific areas, pursuing opportunities in secondary and tertiary cities.