Listed engineering group Hyder Consulting is redirecting its Asian operation from the continental mainland to Australia.
The firm said it was scaling down its business in areas such as Hong Kong and switching its attention to its operations in New South Wales and Queensland.

Sir Alan Thomas, chairman of the group, said: "In Hong Kong the market remains depressed and, in the short term, our goal is to eliminate losses there. Costs have been cut and the sales effort is sharply focused."

Thomas said that Hyder's Australian operation had moved into profit and had recently won a contract to build a residential tower on the Gold Coast and a major bridge in Melbourne.

The regional shake-up came as the group's pre-tax profit rose tenfold for the six months to 30 September, from £51,000 to £559,000. Turnover increased 9% to £60.2m.

Thomas said the firm has restructured its balance sheet and that in future dividends would be paid to shareholders. Thomas said the firm had a £174m order book, £16m up on March of this year, and expected a stronger second half of the year as a result of the Asian reorganisation.