Consultant prepares for Tory spending cuts with Middle East public work push as revenue hits £208m

Davis Langdon is targeting public sector projects in the Middle East and North Africa to offset expected government spending cuts in the UK.

Rob Smith, DL’s senior partner, was speaking after the release of the consultant’s full-year figures. He said his firm was preparing for a drop in budgets next year after an expected election victory for the Conservative party.

He said: “The public sector is emerging in North Africa and the Middle East and we have already secured a large hospital contract in Abu Dhabi. We think our public sector offer will migrate to other parts of the world.”

His comments came as the consultant announced its 2008/09 figures for the UK, Europe and the Middle East, which showed that turnover from the Gulf more than doubled over the year to 30 April from £13.2m to £31m.

Overall turnover increased 6% from £197m to £208m. But Smith said profit would be smaller than last year when the firm publishes full results in September. He said: “You can’t go through what we have been through without cost cutting. Margins have been squeezed across the board.” Last year it made pre-tax profit of £48.6m.

Smith said the firm planned to strengthen its overseas offices over the next three years to serve global clients better and was prepared to shift the headquarters of sectors to suit the market. Ian Memmott, head of the firm’s hotels and resorts division, has already moved to Abu Dhabi. He added that the firm was recruiting across the Middle East, despite turbulence in the region.

Meanwhile, Currie & Brown’s full-year figures revealed a slight pre-tax profit rise for the 12 months to 30 September 2008.

The firm posted pre-tax profit of £2.28m, up from £2.25m in 2007. Turnover was £68.5m, up 8.1%. Income from outside the UK accounted for 56% of revenue compared with 48% the previous year. The company said 2009/10 would be “very demanding”.