Olympic legacy will be a boon for WS Atkins

Marion Dakers
ENGINEERING group WS Atkins hopes its work transforming the Olympic Games sites will keep it on track for growth – though its own legacy business in the United States continues to weigh on earnings.

FTSE 250-listed Atkins, which helped build the Olympic Park at Stratford, said yesterday it has started work on legacy infrastructure following the Games.

The firm was hired last month to convert the site into the Queen Elizabeth Park by spring 2014, taking down temporary venues such as the basketball arena and building a mountain biking track and competitive cycling circuit.

Atkins yesterday said trading has been in line with expectations in the second quarter, with a good performance in the UK led by its nuclear arm. The firm recently penned a recent deal with Areva to jointly bid for decommissioning and clean-up work.

This has been offset by weakness from closing out contracts in its loss-making Peter Brown business.

The group yesterday repeated its view that poor conditions in the US and project delays in the Middle East will dampen profits, a forecast that sent its shares tumbling in August.

“We believe that Atkins remains well positioned to benefit from positive global infrastructure demand drivers,” said Panmure Gordon analyst Andy Brown. “While credibility took a hit from its first quarter update, we stay positive. It has shown it can bounce back from adversity.”