Engineering consultancy and project management group WS Atkins has said its results for the year ending on March 31 should be at the upper end of expectations.

The company - which employs around 900 people in Birmingham - said that came after "satisfactory" trading in the second half.

In a trading statement, the company said it has a strong order book and opportunities in all its markets, which include rail, roads, design and engineering services, project management and equity investments.

The company said: "The board believes the group is well positioned to make further progress in 2006/07."

Overall, Atkins said it continues to perform well, with its design and engineering division winning a number of significant contracts from the Carbon Trust, the Govern-ment's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and British Nuclear Group.

The company has also been chosen as one of three first tier consultants for the engineering and infrastructure development of the main park for the London Olympics in 2012.

Atkins said the acquisition of MSL, which it announced earlier this month, strengthens its capabilities in integrity management in the oil and gas sector.

The group said its rail business had benefited from the anticipated second half recovery of its work for UK rail infrastructure owner Network Rail.

However, it said the division's performance in the full year continues, as expected, to be affected by the ongoing recovery of the capital programme of London Under-ground maintenance consortium Metronet.

In a separate statement yesterday, it said the division had won a three-year, £65 million contract with Network Rail for major resignalling and infrastructure upgrade work in and around Basingstoke in Hampshire.

Atkins said its roads and transportation arm had performed in line with expectations, having won a number of new commissions in the transport planning sector as well as securing a Gloucestershire County Council contract.

It said its Middle East and China operations are performing as anticipated with further growth in the Middle East business.

Management and project services had traded strongly, in line with expectations and the performance of the group's asset management business had seen a one-off benefit in the second half of the year from the finalisation of certain defence-related contracts. ..SUPL: