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Atkins sheds 878 staff as UK profits drop

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Atkins has announced an eight per cent reduction in its UK workforce in the year to September as its revenue suffered a £34.3 million drop

UK operating profit for the six months to September was down 20.4 per cent and turnover fell from £454.7 million to £420.4 million.

It came as Atkins announced its half year results which saw its global business secure a 26.9 per cent increase in turnover to £842.9 million with its underlying operating profit up 6.6 per cent to £51.5 million. The company, third largest employer of architects in the UK acorrding to the most recent AJ100 rankings, saw a 1.1 per cent increase in staffing levels across the globe.  

David Tonkin, Atkins’ regional managing director for the UK, blamed staff loses on cutbacks in highways and transportation spending last year. According to the figures, 878 employees have left in the year to September with 237 of those job losses in the past six months.

He said: ‘It’s incredibly painful and difficult resizing a business, but it would appear we got it right.’

UK staffing levels have been stable since March, he said, and the company’s vacancy list is active.

The water, rail, security and aerospace sectors remain ‘very well funded’, he added.  

Tonkin said the company – which is designing Jeddah airport in Saudi Arabia – was tracking opportunities for work in the Middle East.

He said: ‘[In] Saudi Arabia particularly, on the back of the Arab Spring, there’s a huge amount of investment.

‘What we’re seeing in Saudi is huge amounts of money going into social housing to underpin a better feeling in the population.’

He added that the focus in the region was ‘maturing’ and moving away from landmark buildings to look more at the ‘underpinning infrastructure.’

Atkins chief executive Uwe Krueger said: ‘The Group has delivered solid half year results. Our strategic priorities to deliver shareholder value are to drive operational excellence, to optimise our portfolio, and to grow in attractive market sectors.

‘Notwithstanding the continuing challenges we face, with our diversified exposure to a range of end markets and geographies and good work in hand as we move into the second half, our overall outlook for the year remains unchanged.’

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