Davis Langdon and Gardiner & Theobald post strong annual results but predict a difficult 2008

Two of the UK’s largest consultants, Davis Langdon and Gardiner & Theobald, have issued warnings over toughening conditions next year, despite posting strong annual results.

Rob Smith

Davis Langdon has reported a £40.7m pre-tax profit for 2006/07 in its Europe and Middle East (EME) business, up 27% from the previous year. Turnover rose 25% to £154m.

G&T’s profit leaped 42% in 2007, up to £19.5m. The company’s turnover was £105.5m.

But the view that the UK market may have reached its peak, partly because of the recent turmoil in financial markets, was underlined by both companies. Both expect a worsening of conditions next year, with Davis Langdon saying the London market is already slowing.

Rob Smith, senior partner in Davis Langdon, said: “Outside London it’s business as usual, but projects in London are more problematic. Things are slowing down and everyone is taking more time as demand is softer. But there is still a hell of a lot of work out there.”

Smith forecast that turnover in the EME region, which makes up the bulk of Davis Langdon’s business, would hit £190m next year, and that the Middle East division would soon be the second largest part of the business.

Simon Jones, managing partner of G&T, said his company had experienced “a phenomenally successful year”, but that the UK market was facing “a challenging period.”

He said that the market was “not looking at recession”, but that there was “a generally inflationary economy”.

Tony Burton, a partner in G&T, added that the group’s international business was particularly strong, with its eastern Europe division turning down “several projects a week”.

Davis Langdon’s highest paid earner received £723,428, and G&T’s was paid £1,282,000.