Atkins axes 1,800 staff in cost-cutting year

Aaron Morby 12 years ago
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Atkins cut staff numbers by a further 10% last year as it reshaped the engineering consultancy business.

The round of job cuts cost the firm £16m but helped to restructure Atkins for a tougher year ahead in some of its key markets.

Hardest hit was the Middle East where around a 1,000 jobs, or a third of staff were axed.

Atkins’ core design and engineering division shed nearly 800 jobs as revenues slipped by 10% to £390m.

The project services division, which includes Faithfull + Gould, lost around 300 jobs over the year, with a further 200 going at the rail business.

Atkins said it still continued to recruit to fill specialist vacancies in parts of the business that were growing.

It is also investing heavily in arming staff with a suite of carbon calculation tools to help clients to deliver low carbon projects.

Recent contract wins have ranged from a ten-year road maintenance deal with Oxfordshire County Council worth £350m to its appointment as architect engineer in a consortium to build an experimental fusion reactor in the south of France.

Operating profits for the financial year rose by nearly 10% to £113m on revenue down 7% to £1,388m. Operating margins rose from 6.9% to 8.1%.

Despite a strong trading  performance, significantly increased pension costs and lower returns on cash caused pre-tax profit to slide 6% to £97m.

Chief executive Keith Clarke warned: “The uncertainty of the impact of UK public spending cuts continues and we are prepared for a period of tighter government spending”.

Clarke added that Atkins was now well placed to benefit from changing market demands.

He said: “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.”

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