Investments knock Ryder Architecture profits but sales rise 14%

Recruitment, a 60th birthday and investments across the business saw profits drop 10% as the firm builds for its future

Ryder Architecture, the firm driving the redesign of Newcastle Central Station, has increased sales by 14% to £8.11m in a financial period the firm said continues to be challenging.

The Newcastle-headquartered business, which also has offices in London, Liverpool, Glasgow and Hong Kong, works across a diverse range of sectors, from education and healthcare to manufacturing, residential, leisure, infrastructure, science and transport.

The firm involves itself in that broad range to make sure it doesn’t put too much emphasis on any one area which could later suffer, a futureproofing strategy which has seen it grow having suffered heavily during the recession.

Latest accounts show turnover increased from £7.11m to £8.11m in the year ended April 30 2014, and that the firm is pursuing a number of overseas opportunities in Asia and the Middle East, having won significant commissions over the time period.

While sales rose, pre-tax profits dropped 10% in the period from £729,145 to £655,923, a marked changed on the prior year’s accounts in which pre-tax profits had increased fivefold.

However, directors said this was a direct result of investments carried out over the 12 months, including increasing staffing levels from an average of 101 to 119 in the accounts period.

Since then, a further 22 staff members have been recruited.

The business said total costs, excluding consultants, increased by 11% reflecting its continued investments into staff, business development, international opportunities and celebrating its 60th anniversary, which saw the firm publish a book celebrating its heritage, evolution and success over six decades.

The book – launched at The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) bookshop in London as part of the celebrations – explored its North East roots in 1953 when it was set in motion by post-war pioneers of Gordon Ryder and Peter Yates.

In the accounts period the firm has worked on a number of high profile projects, including the ongoing transformation of Newcastle Central Station, Hitachi Rail Europe’s manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe and the new Durham Constabulary Headquarters at Aykley Heads,

The police headquarters project, which uses state of the art energy management systems, has also been shortlisted for the British Council of Offices awards.

Newcastle Central Station: Ryder Architecture have been heavily involved in the building's redevelopment
Newcastle Central Station: Ryder Architecture have been heavily involved in the building's redevelopment

The firm has also been involved in renovation works on Bath Lane, turning the old House of Recovery into the modern offices renamed Citygate House.

Ryder Architecture’s managing partner Mark Thompson said: “Whilst there are undoubted signs of improvement, market conditions continue to be difficult but we remain committed to our strategic plan of a broad spread of clients and geography and ensuring that reliance is not placed in one sector.

“A positive year saw turnover grow 14% leading to further investment in staff and new areas of business with 18 new recruits in the year to April 2014.

“This has been rewarded in being ranked in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies To Work For – the leading architect in 2014 – for the fourth year in succession.

“As part of our 60th anniversary celebrations we also dedicated significant resources to our charitable activities and have formed and funded our own registered charity, AzuKo.

“We continued to invest through the downturn and are reaping the rewards with talented, loyal and engaged teams and 40 new recruits in 2014.

“Focused on development overseas, we built on collaborative relationships in the Far East and Australia exploiting our expertise in digital engineering.”

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