Profit falls by 10% as half-year results reveal 16% drop in turnover in rail sector

Atkins has reported a dive in profits and a 5% dip in revenues in its half-yearly results to the end of September.

The consulting giant - the largest in the UK - saw pre-tax profits shrink by over 10% from 43.5m for the same six months in 2009, to £38.7m.

Revenues fell from £701.2m to £664.2m, and  the company shed almost 900 staff in the year to the end of the September.

Turnover in the rail and Middle Eastern sectors were particularly badly hit, falling by 16% and 10% respectively.

Profits were hit by £3m in acquisition costs for Florida-based consultant PBSJ, a figure that was expected to rise to £8m by the end of the year, Atkins said.

The company said: “Liquidity in the Middle East is slowly returning as anticipated and we remain committed to working with our clients and maintaining our long-established presence in the region.”

On the rail business, the company said: “The market has been characterised by a delay in contractual awards coupled with fiercely competitive pricing, driven by new entrants and incumbent organisations focusing on the rail industry as other markets continue to suffer”

Atkins said it had secured the vast majority of revenues for the coming year. “We have strong work in hand, with 88% of full year forecast revenue secured (2009: 90%), and the outlook for the full year remains unchanged.”