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Atkins launches practice in Saudi as it sheds 900 staff

Atkins has launched a new architectural practice in Saudi Arabia while confirming that 900 workers left its company in the past year with a 356 staff losing their jobs in its design and engineering division

The new outfit, called Atkins Arabia Design & Engineering Consultants, is a partnership with RIBA registered Saudi architect Mohamed Harasani in which Atkins holds a 70 per cent stake.

Richard Barrett, Middle East & India managing director at Atkins, explained: ‘Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the [Gulf Cooperation Council common market] and already represents an important market for Atkins. This investment consolidates our position and enables us to play a key role in solving the deep technical challenges of delivering new infrastructure across the kingdom.’

The launch of Atkins Arabia took place against the backdrop of continued uncertainty over the domestic market. Confirmation of Atkins’ staff cuts came as the company unveiled its half year financial results for the period up to 30 September, revealing that its revenue fell 5.3 per cent to £664.2 million.  The company’s pre-tax profit was however up 2 per cent at £41.7 million.

Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke (pictured) said market conditions were most to blame for job losses. He said: ‘It’s by no means a strategy of withdrawal it’s purely a function of the [market] trend in medium to short term activity.’

He added: ‘We don’t see a rapid a rapid return to the market, [rather we see] quite a subdued market for the foreseeable future.’

Commenting on the overall financial picture he said: ‘These good results demonstrate our resilience as we have continued to perform in challenging conditions.

‘We have anticipated difficult markets and continue to take timely action to ensure we are in the best position to respond to our clients’ changing needs.  The scale breadth and depth of our skills and our more balanced geographic footprint mean we are will positioned for future growth.’

Clarke however declined to speculate on when the company would restart its recruitment of architects.

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