WSP pre-tax profit fell by in 2010 as its transport division suffered from falling revenues

A fall in revenue at WSP’s transport division has pushed 2010 profit down by 24%.

The firm ended the 2010 financial year with revenue of £706.9m, down from £723.3m in 2009. Its pre-tax profit fell by 24% to £19.2m, compared with £25.2m in 2009.

The fall in profits has been blamed on weak UK trading, despite this being offset to some extent by a relatively strong Swedish market.

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WSP chairman David Turner said: “While we are anticipating that our markets and trading patterns will be broadly maintained in 2011, the group remains well placed both to manage difficult market conditions and to benefit quickly from opportunities as trading conditions improve.

We expect the trading environment to continue to improve, albeit slowly, in the private sector in our major markets where we are well-positioned, whereas the outlook for public expenditure is more varied, with the market in Sweden continuing to be strong but the UK weak.

“WSP remains one of the most diversified businesses in its field with a well balanced portfolio of global and regional clients working across all sectors which provides many opportunities. The Board is therefore confident that the Group, which is well managed and financed, will maintain its momentum and performance where economies are currently strong and rapidly take advantage as the more difficult markets improve.”

The UK business, which contributed 31% of group revenues in 2010 compared with 35% in 2009, saw a slight recovery in the property sector although the transport & infrastructure business, which largely addresses the maintenance of public sector assets, saw a significant decline reflecting the impact of the CSR and the conclusion of the Area 12 Highways Agency contract, announced in 2009.

The transport division saw a massive reduction in activity during 2010, as turnover fell 30% to £83.3m during the year and profits fell to £4.8m from £9.2m.102 jobs were lost from the transport & infrastructure division during 2010.