Major contract wins help WS Atkins to beat forecasts

WS ATKINS, the design and engineering consultancy whose contracts include the London 2012 Olympics and a major Scottish education project, yesterday flagged up better-than-expected annual results.

The group, which made 1,200 workers redundant last year amid a worsening construction backdrop, said its outperformance came despite what remained "turbulent economic conditions".

Profits for the year to end-March will be "slightly ahead" of current market expectations, Atkins said.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The City consensus is for 86 million, so the financial performance will still be down on the previous year's profit of 102.7m. Atkins was hired last year by New Campus Glasgow, the company set up to deliver a new twin-site campus for the city's three merged colleges – Central College Glasgow, Glasgow Metropolitan College and Glasgow College of Nautical Studies.

The new campus, costing up to 300m, will be on Cathedral Street and Thistle Street, on the banks of the River Clyde.

Atkins put its latest financial outperformance down to strong cost controls and an order book boosted by recent contract wins.

These included a 350m ten-year road maintenance contract with Oxfordshire County Council and a widening scheme for the M25 London ring road.

Atkins is also part of an international team that has won a contract to build an experimental nuclear fusion reactor in France.

"We continue to trade confidently in what remain turbulent economic conditions. Our work in hand is good and we have recorded a number of recent wins," the group said.

The company has ended its financial year with cash balances of 300m. It said: "The group's solid order book and end-market resilience provide us with confidence that the group is well placed (for] the year ahead."

Shares in Atkins closed up 3.4 per cent, or 22.5p, at 672p.