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WS Atkins (Atkins) serves up a steady diet of design, engineering, and project management consultancy services to public and private sector clients in the rail, transportation, aerospace and aviation, defense, education, and energy sectors. The UK-based infrastructure consulting group's services include design and engineering solutions; highways and transportation; rail; management and project services. The firm divides its business into regional segments serving the UK and Europe, North America, Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Atkins' global Energy segment provides engineering and project management in the energy market. Founded in 1938, WS Atkins is one of the world's leading design firms; it is a subsidiary of professional services firm SNC-Lavalin.


Roads and rail (including mass transit) are major areas of focus for the design and engineering firm, and together account for about 40% of the company's overall revenue. The firm's Energy business (more than 10% of revenue) operates globally with centers in the UK, North America, Australia, and the Middle East.

Geographic Reach

More than 50% of the UK-based firm's revenue comes from its home country. North America is Atkins' second-largest market, accounting for nearly 20% of revenue. The Middle East and the Asia Pacific regions account for around 10% and 5% of revenue, respectively. The firm does business across Europe, North America, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific Region, with a subsidiary in China.

Sales and Marketing

Atkins generated 25% of its revenue from customers in the Rail sector (including mass transit) in fiscal 2015 (ended March 31), while the Roads, Energy, and Defence and Security sectors made up 16%, 14%, and 9% of revenue, respectively. Customers from the Water and Environment, Aerospace and Aviation, Urban Development, Buildings, and Education sector made up another 37% of revenue, combined. One of the firm's key customers is Denmark-based Dong Energy.

By client type, Atkins made 41% of its FY2015 revenue from private sector customers, while regulated customers made up 22% of its revenue. Local government and national government customers generated 20% and 17% of its total revenue, respectively.

Financial Performance

Note: Growth rates may differ after conversion to US dollars.

WS Atkins' revenues have steadily risen over the past few years as demand for construction in the UK and globally has improved. The firm has struggled to grow its profits, however, as its financing costs and income taxes have gone up.

The company's revenue rose by 7% to £1.76 billion ($2.6 billion) in fiscal 2015 (ended March 31) mostly as its Middle East segment grew by 29% as the company focused on major projects and programs in rail, infrastructure, and property in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The firm's relatively new Asia Pacific and Energy segments grew by nearly double digits as well. Atkins' UK and European segment shrank by 10% mostly as it sold its highways services business and Polish business in the prior fiscal years, and because of market downturns in aerospace, and difficult trading conditions in Scandinavia and Portugal.

Despite higher revenue in FY2015, Atkin's net income fell by 11% to £85.7 million ($127 million) mostly due to exceptional impairment losses and goodwill expenses related to the downturn in the aerospace market. Excluding these items, however, the group's underlying profit before tax rose by 15% during the year. The company's operating cash levels jumped 34% to £116.2 million ($172 million) on higher cash-based revenue generation.


As Atkins reported in its 2015 annual report, its strategy is to "focus on growth and, selectively, to increase our geographic footprint and capabilities through targeted international expansion." In addition to fostering organic growth, the company has been expanded its service lines and bolstering its capabilities through acquisitions of specialized engineering and consulting firms.

Geographically, the Middle East, China, and Scandinavia remain busy for the group. Indeed, its Middle East segment boosted Atkins' revenue during FY2015 as the company focused on major projects and programs in rail, infrastructure, and property in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In fall 2013, the firm was awarded a £75 million ($120 million) contract as the lead designer for the Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia. Some of its past major projects include the Bahrain World Trade Center, the Olympic Park in London, the Dubai Metro, and the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site and the Statue of Liberty renovation in New York.

The company continues to streamline its core business to focus on high growth, higher margin activities. Accordingly, the company sold its its Polish business in the summer of 2014 to Norwegian-based engineering consultant Multiconsult for £2.8 million; and sold its UK highways services business to Skanska UK for £18 million ($28.7 million) in early 2013.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In November 2014, the group purchased Norway-based project management consultancy Terramar, which boosted Atkin's project management expertise and presence in Norway.

In October 2014, Atkins bought Houston Offshore Engineering, which specialized in oil and gas deep water floating production platforms and other offshore projects. The deal added Houston Offshore's skill in platform structures and systems, naval architecture and marine engineering, power, electrical and instrumentation engineering, piping and topsides engineering. The acquisition also added a well-established project pipeline and client base in the international oil and gas market.

In September 2014, the company acquired Nuclear Safety Associates, which enhanced its expertise in its Energy business and extended its nuclear footprint in North America and in the federal and commercial US nuclear industries.

In October 2013, Atkins acquired Singapore-based Confluence Project Management Pte., a project management business with operations in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and India for £8,4 million ($13.4 million). Previously, Atkins acquired the consultancy and technical support business of energy company RWE power for £785,000 ($1.3 million) in 2011. Atkins expanded in the US through the purchase of PBSJ in 2010. The £178 million ($280 million) deal helped Atkins secure new growth and fill in a gap in geographic coverage for the firm.


Woodcote Grove
Ashley Road
Phone: 44 028 9078 8600

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Chairman: Allan Cook
Group Finance Director: Heath Drewett
Managing Director, UK Water & Environment: Neil Thomas

Major Office Locations


Other Locations

Albuquerque, NM
Oak Ridge, TN
Bengaluru, India
Gurgaon, India
Mumbai, India
Cardiff, Wales
Comines, France
Lysaker, Norway
Oslo, Norway
Stavanger, Norway
Aarhus, Denmark
Esbjerg, Denmark
Horsens, Denmark
Altrincham, England
Birmingham, England
Bristol, England
Cambridge, England
Chelmsford, England
Crewe, England
Derby, England
Leatherhead, England
Leeds, England
Leicester, England
London, England
Luton, England
Mansfield, England
Minehead, England
Pewsey, England
St. Asaph, England
Stevenage, England
Taunton, England
Witney, England
Worcester, England
Perth, Australia