HOLLAND Railconsult Holding described its performance in 2004 as ’extremely reasonable’. Turnover in the Netherlands was better than expected, but profits of €3m were slightly down on 2004, and international results were ’somewhat less positive than had been hoped.’

Operating income for the year was €134m, down from €136m in 2003. Costs rose from €129m to €131m, while the number of employees fell from 1327 to 1259 as declining investment in major projects and the weaker economy meant fixed-term contracts were not renewed. Further staff cuts are expected in 2005.

’Current major projects - the Betuwe Route and HSL-Zuid - are starting to wind down. The accompanying fall in turnover will probably continue in 2005’, said Executive Board Chairman Wim Jol.

The company is planning to broaden its activities into the provision of policy advice, project and process management, and diversify into markets including energy.

’We see engineering consultancies playing an increasing role as risk-bearing parties in projects related to their core businesses. Increasingly, engineering consultancies could act as main contractors for design and construction projects’, said Jol.