Profit more than doubled with global revenue increasing by almost a quarter

Marine life institute on the Red Sea - Main Entrance

Foster & Partners’ plans for a marine life institute on the Red Sea

Partners at Foster & Partners have been handed an average £61,000 payout as the practice reaped the rewards of booming workloads in Europe and the Middle East which saw its pre-tax profit more than double.

The latest accounts at the UK’s largest architecture firm reveal profit before tax of £44.4m for the year ended 30 April 2023, up from £21m for the previous 12 months.

The haul was driven by a more than 40% increase in revenue from the Middle East, which rose from £83m to £118m during the accounting period, amounting to two fifths of the firm’s global income.

Turnover also nearly doubled in Continental Europe, from £21.7m to £40.6m, while in the UK it jumped from £24m to £39.7m.

Despite revenue falling from £74.7m to £64.1m in Asia and from £28.6m to £24.8m in North America, the strong performance elsewhere saw total global turnover increase by almost a quarter, from £232.7m in 2022 to £290.2m.

Warsaw's Varso Tower by Foster + Partner's

Warsaw’s Varso Tower

The firm’s 191 partners shared an £11.7m payout, while dividends of £14.6m were paid to shareholders

Average headcount also increased during the period to a record high of 1,322, up from 1,243 in the previous year, while turnover per employee increased from £187,000 to £222,000.

The firm completed 23 projects in the year to April 2023, with major schemes including 425 Park Avenue and 50 Hudson Yards in New York, Varso Tower in Warsaw and DJI Sky City in Shenzhen.

New plans revealed in 2023 included the BWDC Residential Tower in Manila, a department store in Tokyo and a marine life institute on the Red Sea.

Practice founder Norman Foster hailed the firm’s strong foundations and its strategic partnership with Canadian private investors the Hennick family, which bought a significant stake in the practice in 2021.

He also described how in-house teams had been developing AI tools to “augment and enhance” the design process.

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Foster said the use of machine learning models has the “potential to revolutionise the way we work as teams with the dissemination of knowledge.”

“Making accessible the vast dataset accumulated over the past 55 years of the practice could be transformative in the sharing of expert knowledge throughout the practice,” he added.

He also paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II following her death in 2022 “after seventy years of devoted service”.

The practice cancelled its Riverside Festival, due to take place during the month of her death, as a mark of respect.