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No more cost cutting, says Aukett after posting £1.9 million loss

Aukett Fitzroy Robinson’s (AFR) chief executive has promised there will be no more redundancies, despite the company posting a £1.876 million loss for 2008/2009

Nicholas Thompson said he did not expect AFR to make a loss this financial year (2009/2010) and hinted that, even though the outfit’s turnover fell by a third from just over £22.5 million in 2008, the listed-company could take on extra staff.

Speaking to the AJ, Thompson said: ‘The results are pretty much as we expected. It has not been a good year but we’ve now done all our cost reduction exercises and we are more optimistic about the future.

‘We might actually look to increase costs and most likely those costs would be on more technical staff, i.e. architects.’

He added: ‘But it unlikely we will look at any acquisitions or mergers next year.’

Last year Thompson reportedly took a hefty pay cut as the commercially-focused company strove to trim its expenditure – cutting around a third of its staff at the same time.

The chief executive admits he has had to make some hard decisions during 2009: ‘I was quite unhappy about some of the quality people we had to let go.’

However, having never concentrated on public sector work, he is not worried about the possible downturn in workloads caused by the looming general election.

He added: ‘We have virtually no exposure in the public sector, so the election won’t affect us. Fee levels and inquiries [in the commercial sector] have already recovered… though I can’t see [the market] get back to where it was before the downturn for the next couple of years.’

AFR’s preliminary announcement of audited results for the year ended 30 September 2009 is attached.

Previous story (19.06.09)

Aukett Fitzroy Robinson records £1.2 million loss

Aukett Fitzroy Robinson has blamed a depressed UK property market and a slowdown in the Middle East for the £1.2 million loss over the six months ending 31 March 2009

The results suggest the profit warning the company issued at its annual general meeting in April was optimistic. Previously, AFR announced a significant downturn in its Middle East operations and expected to make a first half loss due to restructuring and other one-off costs, principally relating to the UK operation, which will cost the firm £500,000.

Yesterday’s figures show overall revenue fell 27 per cent as project opportunities decreased to £8.2 million, from £11.3 million in 2008. In continental Europe revenues fell by 36 per cent, while UK operations saw revenues drop by 33 per cent to £5.5 million from £8.2 million. This loss was blamed on the economic downturn, although during the period it moved its main office location resulting in costs amounting to £475,000

During the same period, a re-appraisal of on-going projects in the Middle East resulted in some fees being renegotiated and others being delayed, which reduced revenue by £585,000.

Nicholas Thompson, chief executive officer of Aukett Fitzroy Robinson commented: ‘In the face of the steady downward trend in our markets we have progressively taken steps to reduce our operating costs. Given the size of our secured, but uninstructed order book, we remain confident that we will be able to trade through this downturn and return to growth with our long term client base as and when market sentiment and economic activity improves.’

The firm announced that staff numbers had been reduced by 22 per cent, the result of which cost £350,000. However, further staff reductions in progress will increase the reduction by 36 per cent, which will result in annualised savings of £2.9 million.

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