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Atkins trading in line with expectations

WS Atkins plc (“Atkins” or the “Group”), the design, engineering and project management consultancy, today provides an update on trading in advance of its half-year results for the six months ending 30 September 2015, which will be announced on 12 November 2015.

Group performance

The Group’s overall first half performance is expected to be in line with expectations and the outlook for the full year remains positive.

Our UK transportation and water, ground and environment businesses are expected to deliver an improved first half performance against a challenging trading period last year. Our aerospace business has secured some recent wins but, as previously disclosed, it has been necessary to make staff reductions in the period.

The transition to our new simplified UK organisational structure, centred on four market facing business units, is complete and is expected to deliver both revenue and margin improvements over time.

Overall, in our UK and Europe business we expect to show some first half margin progression against the first half of last year.

We continue to experience stable North American market conditions, with Federal support for transportation infrastructure constrained to short term funding commitments. The first half performance has been impacted by investment in bidding activity as the business works to drive top line growth.

Our Middle East business has enjoyed a good first half as we remain busy delivering design packages on a number of significant projects. These include Riyadh Metro in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Doha Metro Gold Line in Qatar. We have observed some client caution regarding infrastructure and property commitments, but see a steady pipeline of work to deliver growth in this financial year.

Despite the previously highlighted slowdown in our markets in mainland China, our Asia Pacific business has traded in line with our expectations. Our strategy of geographic diversification continues; construction has just begun on the Atkins-designed supertall skyscraper for Vingroup in Vietnam and we are making good progress in the development of our relationships with Chinese contractors looking to grow in international markets.

In Energy, our nuclear, power and renewables businesses have traded well through the first half. As previously noted, our oil and gas business is experiencing pricing pressure and is feeling the impact of the deferral and cancellation of some projects. We continue to monitor productivity closely, having already reduced our headcount by around 125 in our UK and North American oil and gas operations.

Overall we still expect to see revenue growth in our Energy business in the current year although, as we have already highlighted, the first half margin has been impacted by the difficulties in the oil and gas market.

Outlook

The Group’s overall first half performance is expected to be in line with expectations and the outlook for the full year remains positive.

Ends

Enquiries

Heath Drewett
Group finance director
+44 20 7121 2000
Kate Moy
Investor relations director
+44 20 7121 2000
Sara Lipscombe
Group communications director
+44 20 7121 2000

Notes to editors
Atkins (www.atkinsglobal.com) is one of the world's most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies, employing some 18,000 people across the UK, North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe. We build long term trusted partnerships to create a world where lives are enriched through the implementation of our ideas. You can view Atkins’ recent projects on our website.

Cautionary statement

This announcement has been prepared for the shareholders of Atkins as a whole and its sole purpose and use is to assist shareholders to exercise their governance rights. In particular, this announcement has not been audited or otherwise independently verified and no warranty is given as to its accuracy or completeness (other than any such warranty which is mandatorily implied by statute). Atkins and its directors and employees are not responsible for any other purpose or use or to any other person in relation to this announcement and their responsibility to shareholders shall be limited to that which is imposed by statute.

This announcement contains indications of likely future developments and other forward looking statements that are subject to risk factors associated with, among other things, the economic and business circumstances occurring from time to time in the countries, sectors and business segments in which the Group operates. These and other factors could adversely affect the Group’s results, strategy and prospects. Forward looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. They relate to events and/or depend on circumstances in the future which could cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from those currently expected. No obligation is assumed to update any forward looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.