The consulting company growing amid COVID-19

“It’s a recognition that whether conditions are good or bad, asset owners still have to invest to keep their assets running and running efficiently.”

12pc growth target

Mr Cox is targeting double-digit growth, of 12 per cent, across the company’s Australia and New Zealand business this year but remains cautious given the second lockdown in Victoria.

“With all of the uncertainty, we adopted a rolling forecast approach where we were forecasting three months ahead and keeping that rolling forward,” he said.

“We have subsequently got to a point where we’re able to convert that forecast into a budget for this new financial year. But we have a level of caution [around the budget] given the potential for further waves of infections popping up.”

During the year, Aurecon reorganised its global structure to separate out its African operations.

The company’s advisory division, led by Brad McBean, further posted strong growth, generating $153.5 million revenue in the year ended June 30.

This marks the division’s third consecutive year of compound 20 per cent-plus growth.

“Our bottom-line growth is growing faster than our top-line growth, which is what you like seeing. And that’s coming through productivity improvement, both in terms of how we are leveraging planning tools to start running projects better and that we are moving people around better,” Mr McBean said.

Top exec pay cut

The uncertainty caused by the outbreak led to Aurecon tightening its spending earlier in the year. One move was that the top 10 executives and three directors agreed to take a 20 per cent pay cut in May and June.

“The pay cut was done as leadership demonstration to signal to the rest of the owners and potentially the staff that these are things that we might need to do down the track. We weren’t going to ask anybody to take a cut unless we’d taken it ourselves first,” Mr Cox said.

The move by Aurecon’s most senior owners to take a pay cut first stands in contrast to other big consulting companies, where some staff pay was cut by 20 per cent for up to five months.

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