Engineer reports 8% rise in profit despite last year’s recession in Europe and MIddle East

Engineering giant Hyder has laid off more than 500 staff in the last year in response to the European recession and market collapse in Dubai.

The figure, which represent 11% of its workforce, is made up of 370 redundancies in the Middle East alone, mostly in Dubai, where it is still owed just under £10m by clients.

The engineer revealed the figures as it reported full year results above previous expectations, showing revenues falling by 3% to £308.6m, with pre-tax profits rising by 8% to £16.3m. Profits were hit by redundancy cost of £3.4m, including £1.5m in the UK.

The firm said it was confident of future growth, and had not been hit as hard as expected by the recession. However, the forward order book was down to £346m from £384m last year, and revenues were still hit by delays in the sign off of large water contracts in the UK, and the continuing slow down in Dubai, which now makes up less than a third of its Middle East revenue, compared to almost half last year.

Its full year dividend to shareholders rose by a third to 6p per share. Hyder chair Sir Alan Thomas said: “I am very pleased to report another year of increased profit and margins, ahead of market expectations, combined with a strong cash performance.

“With approximately 70% of revenue and over 80% of operating profits earned overseas, Hyder is broadly based, both internationally and across market sectors. This will serve us well as government budgets reduce and client  expenditure shifts from public to private.”