‘Great sense of purpose’ for Atlas Knowledge after ‘hard restructuring’

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The CEO of Aberdeen’s Atlas Knowledge has said he is filled with a “great sense of purpose” for the future following a tough period of restructuring.

Kevin Short said Atlas, which develops online safety training courses, is moving into new industries and geographies as it emerges from the oil downturn.

It’s after a period of restructuring in April last year, when 11 people were made redundant and two others came to the end of their contracts.

Mr Short said it was a “tough decision” and a “significant” amount of staff for the firm which now employs 40 people.

The company has posted its financial results for the year ending September 2017, with their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increasing to £400,000, but at the same time, pre-tax losses widened by more than £11million.

That comes following a decision last year to “tidy up”, making Atlas Knowledge the only trading company in the group, and waiving around £10million owed by a holding company, Atlas Knowledge Group.

The remainder is accounted for by a recent revaluation of the firm’s headquarters at Offshore House in Bridge of Don which, as expected through the downturn, had reduced in value by around £900,000.

However, Atlas said neither exercise had a cash impact or affected the underlying business.

North Sea oil and gas accounts for about 60% of revenues, but the company is now making moves into other safety critical industries such as construction and aviation.

Mr Short said: “We took some hard decisions in April of last year which took us to the yearly figures we recently posted.

“It was restructuring, we made 11 members of staff redundant which was quite significant for a company of our size.

“It was a hard thing to do but it was the right thing to do for the organisation going forward.

“We’re now doing very well as the industry is picking up, we seem to be matching that with our revenues.

“That’s allowed us to do new things, going into new areas and geographies.

“Because we have so much experience in safety in oil and gas, we can take those learnings to other safety critical industries.

“We have seen ourselves move into construction and aviation and that has made it quite exciting.

“We know that we’re going to have a good year and the next three years look fairly strong for Atlas. It fills us with a great sense of purpose and gets us excited for the future.”

India and Brunei are some of the new geographies that Atlas has moved into, however the majority of their staff are based in Aberdeen.

Atlas’safety courses are taken in over 110 countries worldwide, with it all being supported via the UK.

As it emerges from the downturn, the firm’s revenues are tracking 20% higher than 18months ago, according to chief financial officer Ian Mackie.

Mr Short said despite the move into new sectors, the company remains proud to be based in Aberdeen and focussed on oil and gas.

He added: “It is a tough market place, it’s hard work but we are quite excited by the plan that we have in place.

“I mentioned aviation and construction in Brunei and India, we have got some real investment and real revenues coming from that.

“If you look at aviation, the reports of injuries coming from that are just astounding.

“We’re not going too far away from our core. We’re proud of the fact that we are based in Aberdeen and we’ve taken an opportunity to move into new areas and geographies but it’s not a cakewalk.

“We need to work hard but we’ve got a great team and we’re taking great steps forward.”

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