Olympic stadium architect offers little explanation of sharp fall but hints at focus on Europe

Pre-tax profit at Olympic stadium architect HOK Sport fell 50% to £800,000 for the year ending December 2005.

The practice, which recorded a pre-tax profit of £1.6m for the same period in 2004, was involved in several high-profile projects last year including Wembley stadium in north-west London, Ascot racecourse in Berkshire and Arsenal’s Emirates football stadium in north London.

Rod Sheard, principal at HOK Sport, offered no explanation for the steep decline. He said it was difficult to separate the work of the firm’s offices across the world because more than one might be involved on any one project. HOK has offices in the USA, England and Australia.

Sheard added that it was company policy, because it had no external shareholders, not to make a profit but to distribute as much as possible to staff in the form of bonuses.

He said: “We are not a conventional company in that sense. We have no desire to create a profit because we have no shareholders. We put the money back in the firm and distribute as much as possible.”

Turnover increased slightly, to £11.4m for the year ended December 2005 from £10.7m for the same period the year before.

Most of the firm’s turnover was in the UK and Europe, although North America and Dubai contributed £271,000.

HOK Sport employed 76 architects last year and 20 other staff. It paid out more than £5m in wages.

John Barrow, the senior principal at the firm, commented in the directors’ report that European markets were high on the agenda. He said the firm might consider investing in this area in order to increase its chances of penetrating the market.

The practice is part of the international HOK Group.