Aukett Fitzroy Robinson plans to open an office in Abu Dhabi to help offset the downturn in the UK market.

Nicholas Thompson, the architect’s chief executive, said this would help double overseas turnover from £5m to £10m over the next four years. As a result, foreign work would grow from 27% to 40% as a percentage of turnover.

He was speaking after the group announced a 21% jump in turnover to £19.7m for the year ended 30 September 2007. Pre-tax profit grew from £1.6m to £2.4m over the year, boosted by strong growth in the UK hotel and retail sectors and Russia.

The Abu Dhabi office will open before the summer, employing 30 people within five years. Thompson hopes Abu Dhabi will account for 10% of group turnover within two years.

He said: “2008 will see the UK market running out of its last big deals. If I’m thinking about where to spend my money at the moment it would have to be in the Middle East.”

Thompson said no acquisitions were on the table but that future deals would be UK companies with “an overseas potential”.

He did not rule out resuscitating last year’s abandoned deal with SMC but said its heavy exposure to the UK market was a problem.

He said the company would consider projects in China and India by the end of 2010.