In this financial year, Arup delivered a strong performance with our revenue at £1.72bn, similar to the previous year, with an operating profit (before staff-profit sharing) of 10%.
This was a considerable achievement in a very difficult period when COVID-19 had a major impact on our operations, our clients and the economies in which we operate in. The pandemic affected some areas of our business such as aviation, but other areas grew including government and healthcare work.
Steps were taken early in the year to introduce various cash conservation measures and unfortunately we had to reduce our staff numbers.
Capital expenditure was reduced, pay rises were delayed and we benefited from a large reduction in business travel costs. We also placed an increased focus on cash collection, working with our clients and suppliers to convert cash efficiently and to pay it out in a timely manner.
These actions have made sure that, overall, we have a very positive cash position – enabling the firm to deal with any shocks to the business resulting from the impacts of the pandemic.
A strong second half to the year saw staff numbers return close to levels of March 2020, with our forward order book at £1.3bn – the same level as 12 months previously.
Across each of our five Regions we performed well, particularly in East Asia, which was a strong growth area. This has left us in solid commercial position with a return to modest growth expected this year.
Chief Financial Officer