Consultant's profit and turnover both up by one-third but slowdown will bring more redundancies
WSP saw both revenue and pre-tax profit rise by one-third in 2008 – but warned that the sharp economic slowdown makes further redundancies inevitable.
The consulting group announced a 36% increase in turnover to £755m from £556m in 2007, and pre-tax profit of £52.1m, up 37% from £37.9m the year before.
It has £1.1bn on its order book, up from £900m in 2007, but its balance of international work in the UK and the US means that it will be susceptible to the slowing of the economy in those countries.
WSP's business in the UK represents 36% of its turnover, and in the US around 16%. It said it had witnessed an “unprecedented slowdown” in Dubai, but its Middle East work represents only a manageable percentage of its revenue.
However, the company predicted it would have to make further redundancies on top of the 500 made in December, mainly to staff working in the private sector.
David Turner, the chairman, said: “It is with a natural reluctance that we have to release some of our valued workforce and we are conscious of the need to handle this both professionally and sensitively.” However, he added that he believed WSP would be resilient in the face of the recession and would emerge stronger at the end of it.