Atkins to develop four cities in Saudi

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Building consultancy Atkins has been appointed to develop four new cities in Saudi Arabia by the Kingdom’s Economic Cities Authority.

The firm disclosed the deal in its annual results statement, which showed a 14% rise in net profits to $62mn and a 2.6% increase in revenues to $2.9bn.

It did not give any further details on the location of the cities or the timeframe for their development. However, the Economic Cities Authority is the body set up to oversee the development of the King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh, the Knowledge Economic City in Makkah, Prince Abdulaziz Economic city near Hail and Jazan Economic City.

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Middle East chief executive Simon Moon said the work involved “planning out how you design complex economic cities”, adding it involved creating more opportunities for SMEs as the Kingdom continues with its attempt to diversify its economic base away from its reliance on oil revenues.

Atkins reported a 22% increase in operating profits in the Middle East to $24.2mn, while revenues climbed by 4% to $283mn.

The firm also revealed that it is advising on the development of infrastructure for a $2.2bn, 42km2 site at North Wathba in the UAE for the Abu Dhabi General Services Company, Musanada.

Moon said the work involves the engineering and infrastructure design for 130,000 plots which will be used to create housing for Emirati nationals.

He added that the firm’s strategy of targeting three key sectors – rail, buildings and infrastructure – in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, was “starting to pay off”.

During the year, it secured work on the Riyadh Metro and the Doha Metro Red Line South. It is also working on the Etihad Rail project, the Dubai Tram and the Lusail Light Rail system.

The firm said that its order book in the region remained strong, with 62.7% of budgeted revenue for its current financial year already achieved.

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