This increase in pretax profits amounted to £2.6m in the six months to 30 September

The property services subsidiary of professional services consultancy WS Atkins, improved its profit margin from 6.1% to 7.2% in the period, with turnover increasing 6% to £35.5m. Operating profits were up by 24%.

The improvement, according to chief executive Mark Rigby, is a result of an investment programme for the business – in terms of staff, IT and offices – coupled with an ‘increasingly effective delivery’ of services from its UK and Ireland network of 30 office locations.

Strong performances came from the building consultancy division, which increased turnover by 24%, and the investment division, where turnover was up 10%. The consultancy divisions - rating, building consultancy, professional and management - increased turnover by 10%.

In Wales, where Swansea firm Poolman Harlow was acquired in April, turnover was up 70%.

LSH also expanded its public sector activity, now winning work from Kent County Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Manchester City Council work.