UK work spreading into regions

Aukett Swanke has said it wants to continue its acquisition strategy of recent years and is eyeing those firms which can reduce its exposure to construction’s peaks and troughs.

The firm snapped up the European arm of Swanke Hayden Connell for £1.6m at the end of 2013 and last year paid £897,000 for an 80% stake in architect and interior designer John R Harris & Partners which operates across the Gulf.

Chief executive Nicholas Thompson said: “The strategy of the group is to become a major player in the professional services sector…We shall be pursuing an alternative acquisitions strategy that encompasses less transactional revenue and broader services in order to move our overall performance to higher levels and ensure that the group as a whole has less exposure to cyclical income.”

Thompson was speaking as the country’s only listed architect saw both profit and turnover climb in the year to September 2015.

Turnover was up 8% to £18.7 million while pre-tax profit increased by a third to £1.9 million.

Thompson said its work in the UK was increasingly taking it outside London with schemes in Birmingham, Bristol and Cambridge all up and running during the period. Turnover at the UK division was up close to £2 million to come in at £14.3 million.

But the firm was hit by problems in Russia where a falling oil price and the devaluation of the rouble saw it post a £56,000 loss while the firm was also hit by woes in Turkey which it said were “almost exclusively attributable to external political factors”. It said it had posted a £133,000 pre-tax loss as a result.

Thompson said its deal to buy John R Harris & Partners had improved its bid success rate in the Middle East region which is now the firm’s second largest behind the UK.