Atkins’ Middle East margin of profit rises up to a record level.

Building consultancy group Atkins reported a 12.2% increase in the six months to September 30 as revenues grew by 12% to $1.475bn (£915.4m) and pre-tax profits climbed a record level by 15% to $88.3m.

Atkins, which employs 17,000 people worldwide, said its Middle East operating margins were impacted during the period by "further project delays and restructuring activities within our operations in Bahrain and Kuwait".

This led to its regional headcount falling to 1,971, but the recent acquisition of Bangkok-based cost consultancy Confluence on 4 October 2013 has added a further 70 members of staff to the Middle East team.

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Recent major project wins in the region include the lead design role for Doha Metro's Red Line south project and lead designer on the Riyadh Metro alongside Spanish firm Typsa for the FAST consortium building lines 4, 5 and 6.

In Dubai, it has also picked up wins to lead two major projects - Al Habtoor City and Dubai Opera House."We continue to see good opportunities in our strategic focus areas of property, infrastructure and rail across Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the year ahead," the company added.

"Our order book at 30 September 2013 represented 90% of forecast revenue for the year (2012: 89%), and the overall outlook for our Middle East business remains in line with our expectations."

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