Chairman: 'To say that the group's financial year was difficult would be an understatement'

Architect Aukett Fitzroy Robinson has posted a £1.9m loss for 2009 as a result of the collapse of the commercial property market.

The figure, which compares with a £2.4m profit in 2008, comes as turnover fell by a third to £15m.

Chairman Tim Hodgson said: “To say that the group's financial year was difficult would be an understatement, starting as it did in October 2008 in the middle of a global banking crisis and ending in September 2009 with the UK and many other major economies mired in economic recession.”

The company also revealed its cash position of £410,000 in 2008 turned into debt of £1.4m.

It said: “We have extended our banking facilities in order to incorporate the current impact of later payment by clients due to the adverse economic conditions, but to date have not had to utilise such additional facilities.”

The architect was recently awarded £550,000 following a High Court battle with property developer Simon Halabi over two jobs.

Aukett launched legal proceedings last year, claiming £1.6m in unpaid fees. Halabi issued a counterclaim that Aukett had failed to inform it of the departure of the project architect on one of the jobs eight months after he left for a rival firm, for which the architect was reprimanded by the judge.

The company said there was still uncertainty over what legal costs it would be awarded after winning the case because of Halabi’s offshore status.

In relation to the future, the company said: “We appear to have seen the worst of the global property recession and our financial position has stabilised. Our focus will be to convert as many of the new market opportunities that are available as possible whilst assisting our clients to continue with stalled projects.

"We see the forthcoming period as a challenge but one where more opportunities exist for a practice with our credentials and track record.”

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