UK business flourishes but firm hit by Russia losses

The decision to buy the European business of Swanke Hayden Connell is paying off for the renamed Aukett Fitzroy Robinson with profit and revenue both up by more than 100%.

Aukett Swanke is the only dedicated architecture practice listed on the stock exchange and, in results announced this morning, the firm said its pre-tax profits in the year to September 2014 climbed 155% to £1.4m, while turnover was up 106% to £17.2m.

The results, the first full-year figures since it bought Swanke Hayden Connell Europe at the end of 2013, show that 70% of its business is in the UK, having more than doubled workloads last year to £12.3m.

Chief executive Nicholas Thompson said 58% of this hike was down to its acquisition with the remainder through organic growth. Profit at its UK business were £1.8m, up from £961,000 last time, reflecting a number of recent indicators which suggest the UK architecture market has emerged from the recession.

Aukett Swanke said more jobs were now coming on stream from outside the core London and south-east market with schemes in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge and Sheffield.

Overseas, the firm made small profits in Turkey and the Middle East but it racked up a £475,000 hit in Russia where it has a number of schemes including hotels. “Such losses are unsustainable and we have given ourselves a short period in which to rectify the situation or consider alternative solutions,” Thompson added. He said the business here had been affected by the collapsing oil price and the economic sanctions following Russia’s wars in Ukraine and Crimea.

Elsewhere in Europe, the firm’s offices at Berlin and Frankfurt both turned in profits but its office in Prague only broke even.