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News: Aukett sees profits leap in best year since 1990

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Aukett Associates is entering the economic downturn on a positive note, boasting a 54 per cent increase in turnover to £10 million and its best year since 1990.

Pre-tax profit has jumped 88 per cent to £623,000 in the last year. Operating profit is up nearly 40 per cent to £722,000. Managing director Andrew Lett put the results down to a three-year, three-pronged approach: expanding its European influence; reducing its debt and interest payment to drive up profits; a sharper marketing focus on the business.

Aukett Associates operates from 12 European cities and in the last year forged new business in Madrid and Prague. However, its financial results report said more than three-quarters of its projects came from existing clients such as bt and Procter & Gamble. 'Despite the downward revisions of many economic growth forecasts, the prospects for the group for 1999 are encouraging,' it said. Lett would not say whether he thought Britain was on the brink of recession, preferring to use the phrase 'economic slowdown'. His firm was 'cautiously optimistic', he said.

The practice's work has included tube upgrades for London Transport, hotels in Manchester and Amsterdam, and new projects in Hungary and Poland. Burgeoning workload has pushed up earnings per share by 41 per cent to 79p.

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