“Although overall economic conditions in the UK remain difficult, our business here continues to benefit from both the resilience of its diversified portfolio in a number of well-funded markets and its support for the Group's Middle East operations,” he said.
“Overall Group staff numbers have increased during the year to date to around 17,700, with growth in our Middle East and Energy businesses exceeding reductions in the UK, where we have continued to adjust our resource levels to meet expected demand,” said Mr Cook.
Consultation began in June with employees who are members of the UK defined-benefit pension plan in relation to a proposal to remove the link between employees' accrued pension and future increases in salary. The consultation process, which concludes at the end of September, is progressing.
Half-year results for the six months to 30 September will be announced on 17 November. Mr Cook said that the group has continued to navigate well through challenging market conditions in many of its markets and that earnings performance for the six months to 30 September is anticipated to be in line with expectations.
“In North America our consultancy business continues to perform well. However, as previously noted, our Peter Brown construction management at risk business has had a poor start to the year and this is expected to impact revenues and limit overall margin growth for our North American business as a whole this year.”
In the Middle East, workload has increased during the year to date as investment continues in the growing infrastructure market.
The Asia Pacific and Europe businesses are trading in line with our expectations, with continuing weak market conditions in both Ireland and Portugal.
“In our Energy business we are making good progress in the core growth markets of nuclear, oil and gas and power,” he said. “Our two recent acquisitions in this business are trading well following their successful integration.”