Executive chairman Andrew Lett said this week that staff numbers had fallen to 200 compared with 260 last January. Aukett has another 200 employees in Europe. The reduction has been achieved through natural wastage and voluntary redundancies.
The job cuts were forced on the group after pre-tax profit fell 55% to £920,000 for the year to 30 September 2001. Turnover rose 3% to £19.4m in the same period.
Lett blamed the poor results primarily on the economic slowdown in the UK, which has prompted clients to cancel or delay major building projects. He said: "The IT bubble burst this time last year and led on to a recessionary trend in the USA. Obviously it has been a tough year for us.
"The tough business climate was not improved by the events of 11 September. Confidence has remained low."
Aukett's UK profit more than halved to about £600,000 for the year to 30 September 2001. Lett said the economic slowdown had meant that the firm had been unable to recover the cost of expansion plans in the UK in 1999 and 2000, which had assumed increased workloads.
Lett said the UK operation's poor performance had been partially offset by the growing strength of its European business.
He said: "We expanded into Europe a while back and it is good that the strategy is starting to pay off. The share of profit generated outside the UK increased to 40%." But Aukett's European profit still fell to about £300,000 last year.
The firm's share price has suffered in the last year and earlier this week it was trading at 6p a share. Lett said that despite the low price and limited interest from investors, there were no plans to take the group private. "The share price has been drifting around for a while," he said.
Lett said that, although the tough trading conditions were likely to continue for some time, Aukett's order book for later this year appeared stronger. He said: "Everybody is looking to see when this confidence factor will start to return to the industry."