For a company that began this decade losing most of its stock-market value and its chief executive, the U.K.’s W.S. Atkins plc seems to have learned the trick of keeping afloat in hard times. From being the lame duck of institutional investors, Europe’s largest design firm has become their darling, following recent news of better-than-expected financial performance in the face of global gloom. David Brockton, equities analyst with Arbuthnot Securities, London, says, “Atkins remains the best-placed (U.K.) consultant to withstand pressure in its markets and benefit when any demand improvement occurs.” Slide Show Photo: W.S. Atkins Burj al Arab hotel
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.