Building consultancy Atkins is planning to redeploy some of its staff from its transport and infrastructure businesses into its property arm in the Middle East as capital spending by governments on major new projects remains subdued.
The UK-based company, which announced in February this year that it was cutting 100 roles from its regional base of about 2,500 staff, said in a trading statement covering the first quarter of its financial year to June 30 that “while we were pleased to secure a number of contracts in the property market during the period, the transport and infrastructure markets have been more challenging and we have experienced a number of award delays”.
A spokesman for the company said: “The situation today is very mixed, with significant growth in the regional property sector, while transportation and infrastructure continue to be more challenging. In terms of our resources, where possible we’re seeking to meet growth in property by redeploying expertise from elsewhere.”
The company said design work for both the Riyadh Metro and the Doha Metro Gold Line is continuing, but that cash collection “remains a key focus across the region and we continue to monitor the liquidity situation closely”.
“Low oil prices have affected liquidity across the region, and that’s not confined to government clients,” the spokesman said.
He added that this was also presenting opportunities for the firm, as this allowed it to work with clients on alternative funding for infrastructure clients or on phasing and prioritising programmes.
In the year to March 31, Atkins declared a 20 per cent increase in net profit to Â£103.2 million (Dh501.5m) as revenue rose by 6 per cent to Â£1.86 billion.
In the Middle East, its operating profit increased by more than 30 per cent to Â£29.5m, while turnover climbed by 15 per cent to Â£248.3m.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter