Accounts also reveal £22.1m payout to employees following deal with Canadian investment firm

Foster & Partners’ profit tumbled by 42% last year despite revenue at the practice increasing by a third.

Britain’s biggest architect posted profit before tax of £21m in 2022, down from £36.2m in the previous year while revenue rose to £232.7m from £200.2m.

Staff numbers at the Battersea-based practice also rose from 1,195 to 1,243, with total employee costs up by almost 10% to £107.7m compared to £98.5m the year before.

Fosters Narbo 2

The practice completed the Narbo Via Museum in Narbonne, France, last year.

The accounts are the first following the announcement of a “perpetual partnership model” with Canadian private investment firm HennickCo, which bought a major stake in the practice in October 2021 for an undisclosed sum.

They reveal £22.1m was paid to “certain employees” of the practice, while a further £11.1m windfall bonus will be shared by all employees. 

HennickCo, a family firm based in Toronto, has the biggest shareholding in Fosters with Norman Foster and his family holding the next biggest stake, although it is understood Foster and his office has retained a controlling interest.

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In the accounts’ annual review, the practice said the past year had been “about learning and new beginnings” as it adapted to new ways of working following the covid pandemic. “We continue to meet the challenges of hybrid working, learning from our experiences, and continually modifying our policies to reflect the needs of our workforce, the practice, and our clients,” the firm said.

During 2021 and 2022 it completed 30 projects around the world, including the Narbo Via museum in Narbonne, France, an inpatient facility for the Universitry of Pennsylvania and five new Apple stores.

The firm has over 80 projects currently underway in 51 cities, including the expansion of Stockholm Central Station with Swedish practice Marge Arkitekter. 

The Middle East was once again the practice’s largest market with income of £83m raked in from the region, although this was down from £88.6m in 2021. 

Revenue increased in all other regions, most of all in Asia, where income was up more than a third to £74.7m from £55.2m the year before. Income in North America increased to £28.6m from £21.6m, while UK revenue rose to £24m from £17.8m. In continental Europe the figure was £21.7m compared to £14.4m in 2021.