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Atkins trading in line with its expectations
WS Atkins plc ("Atkins" or "the Group"), the design, engineering and project management consultancy group, today provides its Interim Management Statement for the period from 1 October 2012 to date.
The Group continues to trade in line with our expectations and despite challenging conditions in a number of markets our outlook for the full year remains unchanged.
Our UK business has performed well in the period. Our rail business is operating with improved utilisation as the signalling work won at the start of last year begins. Our water and environment business is busy with High Speed 2 work and AMP5 framework activity and our defence and aerospace businesses continue to grow. Elsewhere, in our highways and transportation business, we have secured further design work in the period on the later upgraded sections of the M25 motorway as part of our joint venture.
UK headcount has continued to increase, maintaining the momentum we experienced in the first half of the year.
Despite the difficult trading conditions for our North American consultancy business, the outlook for the full year remains in line with our expectations. We continue to anticipate an improvement in the second half consultancy margin against that reported in the first half.
Within the Peter Brown business we have been focusing on closing out the last two remaining legacy projects as well as bidding for new work to build order backlog.
The negotiation of outstanding contract variations continues to be a protracted and challenging process for our Middle East business, impacting both short term profitability and cash flow performance.
Headcount has remained broadly flat during the period and we do not anticipate a material change in staffing levels from now through to the year end.
Asia Pacific and Europe
Our Asia Pacific and European businesses continue to trade well in solid markets, which we expect to be reflected in a good second half margin performance. Headcount in our Faithful+Gould business is increasing, reflecting the growth opportunities for this business across the Asia Pacific region.
Our Energy business has continued to perform well in the period. In response to the buoyant market environment, we continue to invest in growing this business. Our Energy headcount has increased by more than 15% since the beginning of the year.
The Group's financial position remains strong and we are on track to report net funds of over £110 million at 31 March 2013.
The Group's geographic and sector diversification is providing resilience in challenging economic conditions and our overall outlook for the full year remains unchanged.
The Group will publish a pre close trading update on 10 April 2013.
Group finance director
+44 (0) 20 7121 2000
Investor relations director
+44 (0) 20 7121 2000
Group communications director
+44 (0) 1372 726140
Notes to editors
Atkins (www.atkinsglobal.com) is one of the world's leading design, engineering and project management consultancies*, employing some 17,700 people across the UK, North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe. It has the breadth and depth of expertise to plan, design and enable some of the world's most technically challenging and time critical infrastructure projects.
*14th largest global design firm (Engineering News-Record 2012), the largest global architecture firm (BD World Architecture 100 2012) and the largest multidisciplinary consultancy in Europe (Svensk Teknik och Design 2011).
2. Analyst Conference Call
A conference call for analysts will be held at 0800 hours today. Dial-in details are available from Smithfield on +44 (0) 20 360 4900.
3. Cautionary Statement
This announcement has been prepared for the shareholders of Atkins as a whole and its sole purpose and use is to assist shareholders to exercise their governance rights. In particular, this news release has not been audited or otherwise independently verified and no warranty is given as to its accuracy or completeness (other than any such warranty which is mandatorily implied by statute). Atkins and its directors and employees are not responsible for any other purpose or use or to any other person in relation to this announcement and their responsibility to shareholders shall be limited to that which is imposed by statute.
This announcement contains indications of likely future developments and other forward looking statements that are subject to risk factors associated with, among other things, the economic and business circumstances occurring from time to time in the countries, sectors and business segments in which the Group operates. These and other factors could adversely affect the Group's results, strategy and prospects. Forward looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. They relate to events and/or depend on circumstances in the future which could cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from those currently expected. No obligation is assumed to update any forward looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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