Finance director says staffing levels will now remain ’broadly flat’ after profit rises by two-thirds
The latest wave of redundancies at Hyder will be the last, the engineer has insisted, after profits soared by more than two-thirds over the past six months.
In results for the six months to 30 September, the company announced it had shed about 300 jobs in the UK and Middle East - 7% of the firm’s workforce - after losing 500 the year before.
Russell Down, group finance director, said that staff levels over the next year would stay “broadly flat”.
The firm shed about 130 jobs in the UK and 160 in the Middle East. Jobs in the UK had been cut because of a smaller workload and a focus on profitable areas.
Down said UK staffing levels were broadly right, but the highways part of the business could shrink in numbers.
He said: “In the UK we are growing in water and in rail. We are not going to say we always have to have 500 people working on highways. We have a substantial number of highways projects. [But] is it a growth area now? No, it’s not.”
Despite £1.8m in redundancy costs, profit shot up to £9.5m, from £5.7m in the same six months last year.
Revenue suffered a slight dip, declining from £156.3m to £149.9m, with turnover in the UK and Germany steady. It fell dramatically in the Middle East, but expanded in Asia Pacific.
“Abu Dhabi has a bit of a cash issue after bailing out Dubai,” Down said, and added that the company was owed about £8m in Dubai, approximately £1.4m less than in February.
Down dismissed any suggestion that Hyder would be acquired over the next year. “We are very clear that we don’t see the need to be part of a bigger US player,” he said.
“We are an international player with an international culture. URS [the American firm that acquired UK engineer Scott Wilson in September] are a US firm with a US culture.”
He said that there had been “no talks” with potential buyers.