By Andy Sambidge
Design, engineering group says regional headcount increases by 400 as market sentiment improves
UK-based design and engineering group WS Atkins has said its Middle East revenues rose 22 percent during the past year and is looking for further growth in the region to offset a slide in its home market.
Atkins, whose projects include the Olympic Games site in London, reported a 1.1 percent fall in full year pre-tax profits to £101.6m.
The company said the Middle East region "had a good year" with headcount up by more than 400 on the same time last year to 1,972.
Atkins reported an operating margin of 9.8 percent, which was slightly down from last year.
It said market sentiment in the region "continues to improve".
"We have a good order book and are looking confidently towards the future in this region. We will need to manage the ebb and flow of major projects where timing remains unpredictable and resource planning challenging," Atkins said in a statement.
It said it had "a well balanced workload across the region" following expansion in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Atkins said it has secured government contracts advising on infrastructure planning and design projects to meet Qatar’s 2030 vision and to support the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In Saudi Arabia, Atkins is completing the design of the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and working on the design and supervision of the Makkah Metro.
"This adds to our portfolio of successful rail design projects in the region, including the concept design of the 1,300km Etihad Rail project in the UAE, the Dubai Metro, Lusail Light Rail in Qatar, the Kuwait Metro and support for India’s Kolkata Metro," Atkins said.
"We remain active in the property design market, working on projects such as the Central Market in Abu Dhabi, although we expect this sector to represent a reducing proportion of our workload going forward," it added.
"We have demonstrated good progress against our strategy of sector and geographic diversification with some exciting and challenging projects, drawing on multidisciplinary expertise from across the Group," the company said.