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Atkins to capitalise on innovation and technology

Understanding innovation and technology’s impact on asset managment is set to be a key driver for Atkins’ future success, according to UK and Europe chief executive Nick Roberts.

Roberts, who succeeded David Tonkin in December 2014, told NCE that he wanted to capitalise on new technology to push the business forward and deliver more for clients.

Speaking as the firm announced its annual results, he said that it had just signed with mobile communications giant EE in the UK to gain access to data that will help it understand public use of infrastructure.

“This will allow us, with them, to understand people’s interactions with infrastructure in a very different way that not only allows us to think about the design and the user interface, but also the management of their [the client’s] assets in a totally different way,” he said.

“That’s a very exciting development for us.”

Atkins’ annual financial results yesterday saw overall positive results for the global business for the financial year ending 31 March. Revenue was up 0.4% rising from £1.75bn to £1.76bn compared to the same period last year and underlying pre-tax profit saw a healthy 14.5% growth to £121.9M. Globally staff numbers were up by 5.6% to 18,462. However, the UK and Europe showed a more modest growth at only 1.1% to 9,642.

UK and Europe revenue was down by 9.5% from £998.3M to £903.8M.

Roberts remained positive about the outlook for the UK and Europe, despite the small decline in revenue and said that Atkins was working in some really strong markets and that it was confident it was well positioned for the future.

He added that the restructuring of the UK business from 1 April this year that brought the road and rail parts of the firm together to make a 3,000 strong infrastructure business would help achieve efficiencies. The business also came through on its promise to take on new graduates with nearly 300 along with around 70 new apprentices taken on last year. Roberts said it was setting its sights on the same numbers for this year.

Roberts said he was anticipating continued stability and growth in the UK market and that the government was steadfast in its commitment to infrastructure investment underpinning.

“Atkins remains really focused not only on being as close to its clients as it can but being the most efficient and effective business it can be, and that means we have to continue to evolve the business,” he said.

Future acquisitions as part of its strategy for further growth were not being ruled out, he added, citing the company’s previous two acquistions in North America and the take-over of Norwegian project management consultancy firm Terramar last year.



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