Project management consultancy Turner & Townsend increased revenue by 8 per cent globally to £409 million (Dh1.97bn) in the year to April 30, helped by rapid growth in its Middle East business.
It increased its net profit for the year by 9 per cent to £29.6m.
The firm, which is working on the expansion of the Midfield Terminal Building in Abu Dhabi, and Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, grew its regional revenue by 24 per cent during the year to £32.2m – up from £25.9m last year.
Despite difficult market conditions, the number of local employees increased by just over 20 per cent to 305.
The company currently has regional offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha, but regional director Mike Collings has said that he hopes to open in Saudi Arabia soon.
He said that it was “weeks away” from completing the paperwork for a new joint venture. The business will be based in the kingdom’s Eastern Province, from where it also plans to serve the Bahrain market.
Turner & Townsend is also working as cost consultant on the Jeddah Metro project, and Mr Collings said that he sees opportunities in leisure – most notably in budget hotels for Mecca and Medina – as well as for privately financed infrastructure projects.
In the UAE, he added that the property sector remains busy, and that it is still receiving inquiries from “the premier league of Dubai developers”.
“Hotels and residential developments are still receiving a lot of investment. There is still appetite, particularly when returns are so low elsewhere.
“But we are very conscious of the noise we are hearing from companies laying off staff and the sense that the market is quietening a bit.
“We are cautiously optimistic and hopefully we will have another good year. I’m not expecting 24 per cent, to be honest, but if we can hit our budgets we will be happy.”
Bob Flanagan, the managing director of project management and cost consultancy at Colliers International in Dubai, said that market conditions “have been the same for the last couple of years” in terms of activity, and although some parts of the region have slowed, opportunities remain.
“The two biggest markets in the region – for us, anyway – would be Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Speculative residential and industrial is down, but there is still strong growth and new projects coming up for hotels – and in particular, five-star hotels and branded apartments,” Mr Flanagan said.
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