WS Atkins, the design, engineering and project management consultancy, expects overall first half performance, including positive currency effects, to be in line with forecasts. And the group says its remains confident for the second half, despite continued uncertainty and volatility in some of its markets. The group says its UK and Europe business is expected to deliver a good first half result, reflecting both strong infrastructure markets and our continued focus on operational excellence. It says: "In this financial year, in a continued drive for operational efficiencies, we have combined our design and engineering and water, ground and environment business units into a new infrastructure division, and also integrated Scandinavia into our Transportation business." It adds: "Our North American business has enjoyed a particularly good first half. We have fully mobilised resources on the Purple Line light rail project in Maryland and our work on project NEON, our transportation project for the Nevada Department of Transportation, has progressed well. Our focus is now on the successful delivery of these two key projects and securing other major infrastructure opportunities within our pipeline. "The forthcoming presidential election is likely to bring a period of uncertainty and while we do not expect to see a short term benefit from the five-year Transportation Bill, our work on the Purple Line and project NEON will help us to deliver good volume growth and margin progression this year." It continues: "Our design work on Riyadh Metro in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Doha Metro Gold Line in Qatar has continued through the first half. As mentioned previously, we were pleased to secure a number of contracts in the property market during the period, although some of these have been a little slow to mobilise. The transport and infrastructure markets have been more challenging, with a number of significant award delays. "As we have seen no improvement in the liquidity situation during the period, cash collection remains a key focus on our various projects across the region. "Our Asia Pacific business has traded in line with our expectations in the first half of the financial year. As noted previously, we have seen some early signs of an improvement in the property market in mainland China, although we remain cautious as to whether this improvement will be sustained. "Our strategy of geographic diversification continues, supported further by our new Acuity business which is currently focused on opportunities in both South East Asia and the Middle East."
-2.50p (-0.18%)delayed 18:15PM