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Year of two halves as AFR cuts losses

AIM-listed architectural practice Aukett Fitzroy Robinson (AFR) has halved its annual losses and posted impressive figures for the last six months of its financial year to September 2011

According to the company’s trading figures released today, AFR increased its turnover from £7.5 million to £9.1 million and reduced its losses from £784,000 in 2010 to £394,000 last year.

A large proportion of the latest loss was the result of the closure of its office in Poland. From April to  September the AJ100 big hitter actually made a profit of £367,000.

The practice claims to have a forward order book worth £80 million and is continuing to bag a wealth of commercial work in London and has recently won planning for the revamp of 30 Berkeley Square for client Prupim and has just submitted plans for the £17 million overhaul of 125 Wood Street for Orchard Street Investments.  

The company is also working on a raft of hotel schemes such as the refurbishment of the London Metropole Hilton hotel on the Edgware Road and a number in Russia – mainly outside Moscow – including a 3,600 room hotel for the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics(pictured).

Luke Schuberth of AFR: ‘It’s all about direction and it certainly feels positive.

‘Russia has changed from 2010 and is now very strong. Last year we decided to hold our ground and keep the office’s size.

‘Now we have big schemes in the country, such as the Sochi 2014 Olympic hotels.’

‘London is our other big success area. Frankfurt and Berlin have also done well while others areas have struggled. We closed the Poland office in the second half of last year as its workload had run down to nothing.

‘The Middle East is flat-lining. Though Dubai was in all sorts of trouble two years ago now we suddenly hear we have thee enquiries, including one for a major refurbishment in the Emirate.’

He added: ‘We are not really looking at acquisitions. But it will be a year of consolidation and we are flexible and quick to react to those opportunities.

‘I’m feeling quite optimistic but I understand the wider sentiment that it will be another tough year for the profession.’

 

Tim Hodgson, chairman of Aukett Fitzroy Robinson commented:
‘Our need to maintain a skilled and committed workforce at a level that would enable us to win projects in a contracted market resulted in a first half loss.

‘This decision was vindicated by new contracts that have contributed to our return to profitability in the second half of the year. We maintained a solid foundation throughout a difficult trading period and, as and when volumes recover, the quality of our business should enable us to restore earnings to previous levels.’

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