The AJ100’s fifth largest practice Aedas has split - with its hugely profitable Hong Kong business parting from its UK and European arms
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As a result the company’s 13 offices in China, South-East Asia, the Middle East and the US will continue to operate under the Aedas brand name.
Meanwhile the eight UK studios and the outposts in Russia, Poland and Kazakhstan will re-emerge under the new AHR banner - effectively a return to its roots as Abbey Holford Rowe, the name the practice had before it merged with Hong Kong-based LPT Architects in 2002.
The 450-strong AHR outfit will have offices in London, Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Shrewsbury and Glasgow and remain as an equity partnership, ‘focusing on its core activities of architecture and building consultancy’.
Brian Johnson, chairman of the new UK practice, said: ‘This is a very natural evolution based on how the practice has been operating in recent years and to all intents and purposes there will be no change for our clients or our 450 staff.’
According to the practices, the demerger will ‘allow both companies to focus on their respective strengths and will enable them to grow the businesses in different directions’.
Aedas, which has a large Chinese order book, will boast 1,400 staff and has announced it has also opened its ‘relocated London studio’ at 65 Chandos Place in the city’s West End. The company will be headed up by its chair Keith Griffiths who will work alongside ‘signature designer’ Andrew Bromberg, design director for China Ken Wai and airport specialist Max Connop.
Insiders said the ‘divorce’ had not come as a surprise and that there had been a ‘polarization’ between the two business bases ‘on a range of key issues’.
Over the last couple of years Aedas’ London office has lost a raft of key staff, including long-standing Aedas UK deputy chair Peter Oborn, director Sarah Williams and design director Yasser el Gabry who recently joined Capita ESA.
Previous story (AJ 07.10.13)
Aedas returns to profit but sees revenue drop £11.2m
Aedas Group has posted a profit after taxation of £929,000 despite seeing its turnover plummet by more than 22 per cent
According to the trading figures for this ‘umbrella company’, which effectively covers the accounts for the global practice’s UK work and the international ‘stakes’ of the UK businesses, the outfit’s revenue dropped from £49.56 million to £38.35 million in the 12 months to 31 December 2012.
Last year the practice, now ranked fifth in the AJ100 table, made losses in excess of £950,000 including a one-off global restructuring costs of £643,682 (see below). During the last 12 months its workforce has also fallen from 421 staff to 369 and turnover for its UK business, Aedas Architects, fell from £30 million to just short of £19 million.
However Aedas’ return to profitability was branded ‘satisfactory in light of the existing market conditions’ by directors.
Brian Johnson, UK chairman of Aedas, said: ‘While trading conditions remain challenging for a number of Aedas’ operating companies, we are pleased to have reported a profit for 2012 and believe that our diversified services and strong pipeline of business point towards positive performance in 2013 and 2014.’
The latest figures do not include any revenues from Aedas’ burgeoning Asia businesses which cover predominantly Hong Kong and China. It is understood the Asia arm alone has a turnover of around £100 million.
Previous story (AJ 17.12.2012)
Aedas blames global reshuffle for big losses
Aedas made pre-tax losses in excess of £950,000 in the 12 months to 31 December 2011, recently filed accounts have revealed.
The global practice, which has 10 studios in the UK, made losses on ordinary activities before taxation of £952,152.
This was compared with a loss of £87,935 in 2010. The 2011 loss included one-off global restructuring costs of £643,682.
Aedas posted turnover across the globe of £49.6 million in 2011, up from £45.5million the previous year.
Finance director Tony Gardiner said: ‘Despite operating in the most difficult climate, Aedas has focused on maintaining its position as a global leader in the architectural industry.
‘While the costs associated with some global restructuring initiatives have impacted on profitability in 2011, we are confident of meeting targets in 2012.’
Aedas’ UK turnover grew from £32.5million in 2010 to £36.8million in 2011.
The new figures come less than two months after long-standing Aedas UK deputy chair Peter Oborn announced he was leaving the AJ100 practice after nearly 29 years with the company (see AJ 25.10.2012)
Oborn, the UK deputy chair and formerly joint managing director, said it was ‘time for a new challenge.’
Meanwhile the practice has recently completed projects including the Hard Rock Hotel in Dubai, Highway 407 for the Toronto Transit Commission, and Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi.