Deal means business now employs 500

Aukett Swanke has paid £3m for Gulf architect and engineer Shankland Cox.

The deal will see 106 staff move across to their new owner with the enlarged business now employing close to 500 in total.

Shankland Cox, which in its last financial year made a pre-tax profit of £34,000 on revenues of £4.6m, has been going for more than 50 years and also carries out project management, landscaping and masterplanning work. It has four offices – in the UK, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Pakistan.

Aukett Swanke chief executive Nicholas Thompson (pictured) said the deal was part of a wider strategy to beef up its presence across the Gulf region. He added: “It demonstrates our long term commitment to the region and creates an enterprise of 146 staff making us a major player in the UAE professional services market.”

Announcing its annual results last month, Thompson said the firm would be continuing its acquisition strategy of recent years which has seen it snap up the European arm of Swanke Hayden Connell and architect and interior designer John R Harris & Partners which operates across the Gulf.

Speaking about the Shankland Cox deal, he added: “Whilst we may add to our design based capabilities in the future, management focus is now on broadening our international reach and seeking a more diversified portfolio of associated revenue streams.”

In the year to September 2015, turnover at Aukett Swanke, the country’s only listed practice, was up 8% to £18.7m while pre-tax profits increased by a third to £1.9m.