Atkins warns Brexit would herald "difficult" period for UK engineering

Jessica Morris
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Brexit would limit the UK's ability to attract European engineering talent (Source: Getty)

Atkins has warned today that a Brexit vote next week would bring about a difficult period for the British engineering sector.

"The whole British engineering industry would be in a much more difficult situation if Brexit were to happen," Uwe Krueger, chief executive of the design and engineering firm, told City A.M.

Read more: UK Steel says industry crisis would worsen if Britain leaves the EU

He said that the UK's ability to attract European engineering talent would be limited, alongside the ease at which it can participate in largescale EU funding programmes. The complexity it would introduce into relationships, collaborations and partnerships with European firms would also "certainly be detrimental".

It comes as a strong performance in the Middle East and Europe helped Atkins' revenue swell six per cent to £1.86bn in the year ended 31 March. This helped its pre-tax profit rise 22.9 per cent to £131.1m during this period.

Krueger also pointed to the group's underlying operating profit which increased 10.5 per cent to £148.2m, meeting the firm's eight per cent margin target.

Read more: How the investment industry splits on Brexit

Going forward, Atkins wants to accelerate top line growth organically through new business as well as mergers and acquisitions.

"At any given point we have a couple of opportunities that we are serious pursuing," Krueger said in regards to the company's position on future M&A activity.