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Atkins closes in on 8% margin target despite mixed profit and revenue results

Consultant Atkins has reported a 6.6% dip in its pretax profits but has pushed its margins to 7.6% in the 12 months to 31 March, according to its annual results published today.

Pretax profits were down from £114.2M in 2014 to £106.7M in 2015 and the firm reiterated its view of six months ago that the UK and European business was continuing to see only “mixed” results. However, underlying pretax profits rose by 14.6% to £121.9M in 2015 compared to £106.4M for the previous year.

Operating margins rose 0.2% to 6.7% and underlying profit margins were boosted by 0.9% to 7.6%. The firm said in a statement: “We have delivered good results with solid growth in profitability and excellent cash performance. Margin progression has continued towards our 8% goal and the outlook remains positive.”

Global staff numbers were up by 5.6% to 18,462 compared to 17,489 in 2014. However there was a smaller reported growth in the UK and Europe with staff numbers up by a modest 1% to 9,642. That growth was driven by its rail, design and engineering and highways and transportation businesses as well as the acquisition of the 65 person Norwegian project management consultancy Terramar.

UK and Europe revenue was down by 9.5% from £998.3M to £903.8M but said it had: “delivered a much improved second half performance after a mixed first half”.

“Full year revenue decreased 9.5% to £903.8M, reflecting the sale of our highways services business last financial year and our Polish business in 2014, a market downturn in aerospace and difficult trading conditions in Scandinavia and Portugal,” the firm added.

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