Atkins weathers oil price storm in nuclear push

 
Caitlin Morrison
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ENGINEERING firm Atkins managed to shrug off most of the ill effects of the recent plunge in oil prices by moving further into the nuclear power sector, its chief executive said yesterday.

Dr Uwe Krueger told City A.M. the group’s energy business had been successful in the year to 31 March due to its diversity.

“The oil price clearly has an affect on the company, but oil and gas is only about 40 per cent of our energy business, we have expanded much more into nuclear,” he said.

The company reported a slight increase in revenue for the year, up to £1.76bn (£1.14bn), from £1.75bn in 2014. However, pre-tax profit fell by 6.6 per cent, from £114m to £107m

Krueger highlighted the 14.6 per cent increase in underlying profit, which went from £106m to £122m, and the operating cashflow, which grew by 40 per cent to £133.9m.

“That tells you about the healthy operations and that the clients are paying up,” he said.

Analysts at Numis said the group’s headline figures were “very modestly ahead of expectations”, and noted that the outlook for the UK and Europe is stable “in a market which we think should see continued increases in infrastructure spending”.

In particular, the broker said, the UK was the “primary contributor” to better growth in the second half of the year.

Shares in Atkins were up by 1.07 per cent yesterday to 1,508p.

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