Nicholas Thompson, the chief executive of quoted architect Aukett, has started 2006 with a round of office closures and redundancies.

Thompson, who was appointed when his former company Fitzroy Robinson merged with Aukett in April last year, has closed the practice's Glasgow office, sold its Dutch office and brought its two London offices together.

A spokesperson for Aukett declined to confirm the number of redundancies that have resulted, but Thompson did say: "Our variable costs are almost entirely staff-related and reducing these has been a painful but necessary operation."

Thompson plans to remove the company from the main stock market and to relist on the alternative investment market, where Aukett was positioned before the merger.

He said: "The future of the company would be better served if it were quoted with companies of a similar size and outlook."

Aukett is currently one of only two quoted architects on the stock exchange, along with SMC.

Jose Luis Ripoll, Aukett's former chief executive, has stepped down from the board.

Under his charge Aukett made a £1.3m pre-tax loss in the year to 30 September 2004. That compared with a modest pre-tax profit of £159,000 in the same period in 2005, as announced last week. However, that was a direct result of the contribution from Fitzroy Robinson in the last five months of the financial year.

The pre-merger Aukett business made an undisclosed loss in the year to 30 September 2005.

Thompson was, however, bullish about the future and said he planned to double the size of the business in the next five years through organic growth and increasing the size of projects.

Thompson said he considered Russia, Poland and Spain as areas with particular growth potential, although Germany continued to be a "very difficult market".

He said: "It was clear on concluding the merger that a number of significant shortcomings existed in the previous operations in the UK and throughout Europe. Most have been addressed and underperforming operations have been rationalised or sold."

Turnover rose 5% to £12.3m and shares rose by a little more than 1p to 3.6p when the results were announced.

Aukett Group at a glance

Turnover £12.3m
Pre-tax profit £159,000
Earnings per share 0.02p
Dividend 0
Net assets £2.3m
Net borrowings £1.4m
Sectors include Hotels, retail, regeneration, residential, healthcare, transport
Offices London, Berlin, Bratislava, Frankfurt, Moscow, Prague, Warsaw