Architect proposes to re-list on AIM after following merger with Fitzroy Robinson.

Listed architect Aukett is to substantially change its structure following its merger with Fitzroy Robinson.

The firm, which is one of the few listed architects, is proposing to downgrade in status by re-listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) after concluding that it was too small to be on the full market.

Its chief executive Jose-Luis Ripoll is also to step down with immediate effect and become a non-executive director. The merger has also resulted in the closure of Aukett's Glasgow office and the relocation of Aukett's offices in Battersea to central London, at a cost of £390,000. This will lead to cost savings of £300,000 a year.

New chief executive Nicholas Thompson aims to double the size of the business within five years.

He said: "Our intention is to implement a growth strategy which aims to double the size of the business within the next five years. This strategy will combine organic growth underpinned by greater volumes through existing business streams alongside a general increase in the scale of projects, as demonstrated by recent project wins."

The merger with Fitzroy Robinson has allowed Aukett to post preliminary results with turnover up from £11.69m to £12.28m. Pre-tax, the firm has gone from a £1.32m loss last year to a £159,000 profit for the year ended 30 September 2005.

Thompson said most of the firm's shortcomings had now been addressed in the UK and throughout the wider European network.

He said: "The repositioning of the group has involved many difficult decisions. As a people based business, our principal fixed cost is premises and these have been successfully reduced through relocation, substantially lowering the cost base. Our variable costs are almost entirely staff related and reducing these has been a painful but necessary operation. Overall, we have achieved these restructurings while continuing to provide a first class product to our clients and I am immensely grateful to our staff for their dedication and effort.

"The merger with Fitzroy Robinson contributed significantly to the improved balance sheet position as well as contributing to a better trading performance, albeit for only the last 5 months of the year. The stand-alone Aukett operation continued to make losses during the period now reported but an improvement was achieved in the latter months," he added.

"The group's network has been rationalised and offices with delivery capability are now situated in Berlin, Bratislava, Frankfurt, London, Moscow, Prague and Warsaw."

"Glasgow has been closed, Holland sold, London consolidated into the West End, and a new joint venture in Romania."

A spokesperson for Aukett declined to say how many staff had been made redundant.