WS Atkins boss in talks over UK shale gas opportunities

 
Suzie Neuwirth
THE CHIEF executive of WS Atkins yesterday said the engineering consultancy was in talks with UK shale gas explorers over potential contracts, as he reaffirmed the company’s commitment to its home market.

Uwe Krueger told City A.M. that “the UK is the most important market for Atkins” and said that since divesting the UK highways services business to Skanska last year, it had “performed really well”. UK operating profit rose 2.8 per cent to £58.1m last year, reflecting a strong pipeline of rail projects, including HS2.

Energy is a key pillar of the FTSE 250 firm’s business. It was named the preferred bidder on a decommissioning contract for a Sellafield nuclear plant in April and has a deal with offshore wind firm Dong Energy.

Krueger said the firm could tap into the nascent shale gas market through its “expertise in geotechnical engineering and reservoir assessment”.

WS Atkins reported a 7.3 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profit last year, while revenue rose 2.6 per cent to £1.75bn.

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