Ryder reports slump in profits – but snaps up Bristol practice

Post-tax profits at the practice dropped to about £1.5 million in the year to April 30 2023, down from £4.9 million in the previous 12 months. Revenue fell from £30.9 million to £30.2 million over the same period.

Costs rose 18 per cent at the company, which is ranked 17th in the 2023 AJ100 league.

Ryder has been on an acquisition spree, snapping up Doone Silver Kerr during the reporting period and Bristol-based firm The Bush Consultancy this week.

It also bought up the remaining 50 per cent of its consultancy joint venture BIM Academy last July, ‘took significant control’ of Haskoll in 2022, and bought interior designers Ward Robinson Design the year before.

Ryder, which marked its 70th anniversary in 2023, also dissolved its Dutch subsidiary last July and sold off its share of its Asian business in December.

Ryder’s managing partner, Mark Thompson, said the company was ‘pleased’ despite the lower turnover, which he described as ‘consistent [with] ongoing global, economic and political challenges’.

Thompson added that, although profits had dropped, he was confident that next year would bring ‘a more robust pipeline’ of work. The company’s annual report noted that ‘timing is a concern as clients assess the viability of projects which are being affected by construction material price increases and the increased cost of borrowing’.

He said: ‘In the year ahead we hope to see a stabilised economy and a commitment from the UK government to much-needed investment in education and healthcare – two of our key sectors – which would unlock new and delayed projects and opportunities and provide much-needed confidence to the private sector.’

Thompson said Ryder had continued to hire more staff. The AJ100 league table shows the company had 300 permanent staff in 2023, including 99 architects, an increase on the 262 employees and 88 architects it had in 2022. Announcing the Bush Consultancy acquisition on Thursday (1 February), Ryder said that its headcount was now over 350.

The Bristol-based architectural practice reported a headcount of 21 staff in its last set of accounts.

Ongoing Ryder projects include the National Rehabilitation Centre in Loughborough, Dumfries High School, and several University of Liverpool projects, as well as a build-to-rent scheme in New Zealand.