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Hadid's turnover hit by Arab Spring - but China booms

Zaha Hadid Holdings has seen a slump in its Middle East work following the ‘Arab Spring’ and its turnover fall from £43million to £34million

However, according to the latest accounts filed by the group company for Hadid’s practice, a reduction in the workforce has actually resulted in the company’s operating profit rising from £1.83 million in 2011 to £1.97 million in the year ending 30 April 2012.

The company’s Chinese workload has also ballooned, with turnover in the Asia Pacific area more than doubling from £6million in 2011 to £13million in the last financial year.

The average number of employees decreased to 304 from 357

According to the accounts filed at Companies House yesterday (2 January 2012), the practice has five new projects in China including ‘major urban developments’.

Before the unrest and wave of revolutionary protests in the Arab world that began in December 2010, schemes in the Middle East made up nearly half of Hadid’s work. But during the 12 months covered in the latest figures, turnover in the region plummeted from £20.56 million in 2011 to £7.7 million.

The directors’ report confirmed that overall profits had, nevertheless, edged up thanks to ‘cost savings in reducing staffing levels of the company.’

It goes on: ‘The redundancy program that took place during the early part of the year, and the continued monitoring of headcount, meant that the average number of employees decreased by 15 per cent to 304 from 357.’

Zaha Hadid Architects' competition-winning proposals for the new Changsha International Culture and Arts Centre in south-central China

Zaha Hadid Architects’ competition-winning proposals for the new Changsha International Culture and Arts Centre in south-central China

Hadid in China (AJ 24.07.2012)

Simon Yu of Zaha Hadid Architects said in July 2012: ‘There is still a window for UK practices in China. When I came in 2004-05 we felt we’d got there too late. But nearly a decade later and we are managing to secure projects [such as the Nanjing Youth Olympic Centre pictured] and it seems fairly stable. It might even be a little better than that. It hasn’t dried up at all.’

He added: ‘There was a bit of a wobble [before Christmas 2011] and people were genuinely afraid. China hasn’t experienced a depression yet. But it didn’t take long to settle down.’

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