Environment is right for AEA as it eyes major expansion north of the Border

ENVIRONMENTAL consultancy AEA said it was looking to expand north of the Border as it unveiled a 10 per cent increase in turnover to £35.3 million.

AEA Technology, which has contracts with the Scottish Government, said it was eyeing small Scottish technology companies as potential acquisitions and added it had plans to grow the existing Scottish workforce "significantly".

Pre-tax profits dropped 52 per cent to 2.8m due to tough comparatives created by a one-off payment relating to pension credits in the first half of 2006. But, in the six months to the end of September, adjusted operating profit - which excludes recurring items - was up 19 per cent to 3.7m.

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AEA said changing government environmental policies - with particularly stringent plans in place in Scotland - had raised demand for its services.

Chairman Dr Bernard Bulkin said: "Our strategy is to build on our knowledge reputation and strong position with the UK government to enable us to offer similar high-quality policy and behavioural change advice to the EU, US and Chinese governments."

In Scotland, the company achieved double-digit growth, and said it expected business north of the Border would be on track to continue the increase for the rest of the financial year.

Chief executive Andrew McCree said: "Scotland is setting some very challenging environmental targets about emissions and we are looking to help the Scottish Government achieve them.

"Scotland is a very good place to do business."