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HOK International posts fourth year of operating losses

HOK Valencia Arena
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HOK International has posted a fourth consecutive year of operating losses, citing Brexit among the reasons

The international arm of the US-headquartered design firm revealed a pre-tax operating loss of £454,580 for the 12 months to 29 December 2017.

This was an improvement from a loss of £2.3 million in the previous year, but mirrored shortfalls of £443,277 in 2015 and £400,483 in 2014.

Revenue dropped slightly to £19.4 million in the latest period.

HOK International said the factors affecting its performance included uncertain market sentiment ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU as well as entering three ‘significant non-fee-paying design competitions’.

Dan Hajjar, managing principal for HOK’s London studio, called for government ministers to clarify what would happen when the UK left the EU.

He said: ‘Many of the challenges we navigated last year were common in the wider architecture sector, such as uncertainty around the economy. We need a government plan for Brexit, so that we as a business can plan for Brexit.’

He added that this year had seen an improvement for HOK International.

‘In 2018 we have seen an uptick in our performance. Our sport and entertainment practice is buoyant after we made a significant investment in this sector.

‘Mixed-use, residential, science and technology and interiors are also performing well. We’re also casting further into Europe and the Middle East and seeing sustained or improved turnover in those markets.’

Having eggs in several baskets gave the practice confidence, Hajjar said.

‘The wide diversity of our business is our strength. We are not solely reliant on London nor the UK for our work, and our varied sector specialism, which encompass everything from hospitals to heritage and offices to laboratories, ensures that we are not overly exposed to the variables of any single market. Our services are equally broad, offering expert planning, design and delivery solutions to the market, ranging from strategic planning to architectural, engineering and interior design.’

HOK’s London studio recently confirmed project wins including a 15,000-seat venue (pictured) for Valencia Basket Club in Spain, and a masterplan for Gateshead Arena and Convention Centre in the North East.

The AJ reported in July that the opening of HOK’s £165 million New Papworth Hospital had been delayed ‘for a number of months’ amid safety fears over combustible insulation in its cladding.

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