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Atkins profit falls and headcount drops 13%

17 Jun 10 Construction consulting giant Atkins has cut its staff numbers 13% after a tough year in which both revenue and profit tumbled.

Construction consulting giant Atkins has cut its staff numbers 13% after a tough year in which both revenue and profit tumbled.

Turnover was down 6.7% to £1.39bn for the year ending 31 March 2010 (2009: £1.49bn).

Profit before tax was £96.5m (2009: £100.2m), but a pension curtailment gain knocked a further £2.6m off the final figure.

There was also a one-off credit of £25m relating to the now defunct London Underground PPP consortium Metronet, of which Atkins was a share holder.

The Group's liquidity is strong with net cash at year end of £302.5m.

As market demand shrank, Atkins reduced staff numbers over the course of the year by 13% to 15,601 at the year-end. However, the firm successfully redeployed more than 500 people into different roles across the Group.

The restructuring costs totalled £17m.

Its Design & Engineering Solutions business, where revenue dropped 10% to £390m, experienced “reduced activity levels”, notably in the water sector. Its order book for 2010/11 represents 45% of budgeted revenue (2009: 43%).

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Highways & Transportation held up better, with turnover only down 2.5% at £300m, helped by the M25-widening contract win. Work in hand at 31 March 2010 was 69% of budgeted revenue for 2010/11.

Rail revenue fell 5% to £185m. Atkins is working on the design of 22km of Crossrail tunnels with Arup, and is also involved with station projects. But with an order book of only 53% of budget at 31 March 2010 (2009: 61%), it described the outlook as “challenging”.

Keith Clarke, chief executive, said: "These results, delivered in a tough economic environment, demonstrate the resilience of our strategy.

“However, the uncertainty of the impact of UK public spending cuts continues and we are prepared for a period of tighter Government spending.

“The future for the built environment will bring more complex engineering challenges as clients put greater emphasis on planning and design disciplines to achieve maximum value for their infrastructure programmes. This is what Atkins does well.

“The Group has good levels of work in hand and a strong balance sheet and we are well positioned for when growth returns."

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