The credit crunch has not yet started to affect UK architecture, according to RMJM Architects, which is forecasting a return of double its profits on the previous financial year.
RMJM expects to make about £8m in profits for the year ending April, and a total revenue of £100m, up from £47m the year before.
RMJM head Peter MORRISON says the firm has seen the number of projects grow in the last year, despite the economic downturn.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the credit crunch but I don’t think we have ever seen a development boom like the one now happening in the global market place,” Morrison says.
“The pundits are saying the same number of buildings we have in the world today will actually be built in the next 25 years.”
RMJM’s recent projects include the Beijing Olympics Media Centre, the Okhta Centre for Gazprom, the Kolkata Airport in India and the China Merchants Bank and Dubai Tower in Jeddah.
Morrison says he expects the credit crunch could help boost development, increasing the amount of expenditure for public sector projects.
“The credit crunch applies pressure on governments to maintain economic growth through public sector projects so there’s plenty of work out there,” Morrison says.
“A significant proportion of our current worldwide revenues are from public spending – mostly in educational, healthcare and transport sectors.”
Companies focussed on one region, however, could fare differently.
Morrison says RMJM’s global focus means that when finance becomes an issue in one region it can concentrate on others, such as the booming Asian market.
“In investment terms it’s akin to having a well balanced portfolio on a global scale,” Morrison says.
It is a sharp turn from RMJM’s position three years ago, when the company reported a loss.
Since then it has repositioned itself to focus globally and, according to Morrison, much of this year’s profit expectations are a result of that shift.
By Penny Jones