Engineering consultant WS Atkins has increased its operating profit by 28 per cent, reflecting sustained growth in the Middle East and its other main markets.
The business, which has about 900 employees at its operations in Birmingham, came in with profit before tax for year ending 31 March of £92 million up from £70 million, an increase of 31 per cent.
It had total revenues of £1.33 billion which includes discontinued operations of £33 million with Metronet – which went into “PPP administration” – a company set up to revamp a large part of the London Underground system.
WS Atkins was a shareholder in Metronet with Balfour Beatty, Canadian company Bombardier, EDF Energy and Thames Water, now owned by Australian company Macquarie.
Contracts with Metronet were terminated in August last year but since then WS Atkins has supported Metronet directly under new contractual terms throughout the period of its administration.
It currently provides consultancy, design and engineering support under contracts secured with the successor company recently established by Transport of London.
Keith Clarke, chief executive, said the group’s rail business continued to derive about half of its revenue from large re-signalling contracts for Network Rail and during the year a large percentage of the work consisted of significant projects on the Rugby and Nuneaton section of the West Coast Main Line upgrade.
Good performances came from the design and engineering solutions and highways and transportation segments in the UK.
Design and Engineering Solutions had revenue of £373 million against £320 million last year, up 16 per cent and contributed an operating profit of £30.2 million an increase of 12 per cent.
Revenue by Highways and Transporation was £274 million, a rise of ten per cent, with an operating profit of £16.8 million against £13 million previously.
Mr Clarke said the recent Government Comprehensive Spending Review indicated that transport expenditure would increase by 2.5 per cent annually up to 2019 with much of that increase in the early years.
“On that basis we would expect modest growth in the overall market but, in the areas in which we operate, growth should be higher as the Government looks to deliver capacity and efficiency savings.
“We expect projects of national importance , such as the M25, M74, A1 and A14 to continue but other projects may slip, particularly where innovative technology solutions in which we have a deep and broad expertise – including motorway access management – could be deployed.
“The highways and transportation segment of the business is strong, underpinned by our order book at 31 March increasing to 78 per cent of budgeted revenue for 2008-0,” said Mr Clarke said the aerospace business continued to benefit from strong relationships with clients Airbus and Rolls-Royce.
The acquisitioon of Nedtech Engineering had increased the range of services WS Atkins could provide to aerospace companies.
“We have recently been awarded contracts to provide certification analysis for the Aibus A400M military transporter and the A330F long-range freightliner aircraft,” said Mr Clarke.