Excluding joint ventures, revenue for the year was up 2.6% to £1,750.1m (2013: £1,705.2m) while underlying pre-tax profit was up a firmer 7.3% to £106.4m (2013: £99.2m).
With the disposal of its UK highways maintenance business to Skanska and US construction business Peter Brown to Moss & Associates, global staff numbers were down 2.3% at year-end to 17,489. Just over half of these – 9,544 – work in the UK.
In the UK, revenue was up 2.2% to £998.3m, despite the highways disposal in October, and operating profit was steady at £62.6m.
In his review of the year, chief executive Uwe Krueger said: “Our United Kingdom and Europe region performed well during the year, driven primarily by the UK where we experienced good momentum in our core markets. The use of our global design centres (GDCs) in India to deliver work for our UK business also enhanced our performance and increased our competitiveness. We achieved particularly good volumes in the retained highways consultancy and rail businesses.
“In addition we benefited from a contract gain share as a consequence of our M25 design project exceeding its delivery targets, in part offset by outstanding variation negotiations on certain rail signalling contracts. The UK water and environment business had a busy first half with peak volumes associated with AMP5 and feasibility studies on phase one of the HS2 high speed rail project. We were pleased to see opportunities re-emerging for our design and engineering business from the UK education market and infrastructure work associated with nuclear new-build projects.
“We remain well positioned in our defence business following the change in the UK government's approach to reforming its defence procurement activities. Our Scandinavian businesses remain stable and the market well-funded, while our Faithful+Gould business performed well in a reasonably tough environment.”