Army work boosts buoyant Atkins share price

Engineering consultant WS Atkins is benefiting from so-called Big Mac multi-facilities management contracts. Its shares have performed strongly since their market launch last July at 215p. Now the price has had a fillip from news of Atkins’ involvement in a £200m Big Mac contract from the British Army covering non-military affairs at Aldershot Garrison. The […]

Engineering consultant WS Atkins is benefiting from so-called Big Mac multi-facilities management contracts.

Its shares have performed strongly since their market launch last July at 215p. Now the price has had a fillip from news of Atkins’ involvement in a £200m Big Mac contract from the British Army covering non-military affairs at Aldershot Garrison.

The award was made under the Ministry of Defence Competing for Quality initiative, and Atkins is one of three partners in the winning consortium. Its role will range from project management and design to energy management and running the power station.

Michael Jeffries, Atkins’ chief executive, plans to compete in a joint venture for other Big Mac contracts.

As the shares traded at a heady 60%-plus premium to their launch price, stockbroker Wise Speke rated them high enough for now. It struck a note of caution, suggesting that such big long-term contracts – Aldershot is over seven years – involved risk.

Wise Speke forecast £24.5m profits for the full year, rising to £28.5m in 1997-98.