BDP has announced plans to make up to 100 staff redundant after delays to one of the practice’s major contracts.
The job losses are also set against the backdrop of public sector spending cuts.
Staff are undergoing a number of separate redundancy consultations, which could see as many as 15% of the 900 employees leave.
The move follows a delay to BDP’s £420 million redevelopment of the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) NHS trust confirmed the design process was being “paused” at least until the approval of the scheme’s planning application, submitted to Brighton & Hove Council last month.
BDP, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, said the consultancy process affected 10-15% of its staff - up to 100 - in its offices in Winchester and Sheffield and its London head office. In a statement it said the “streamlining” followed “the suspension of a major healthcare project and large-scale cuts in public sector work”.
A spokeswoman was unable to say when staff would learn their fate as a series of consultations was under way.
It has been a difficult year for the practice which has had to deal with the death in Bristol of staff member Jo Yeates, and a £3m legal action from the education department over the Westminster Academy.
Peter Drummond, BDP chief executive, said the architect had been “buffered” by its overseas work, including project wins in Kerala, India, and Suzhou, China.
The news comes as architect Archial confirmed it was considering laying off 20 staff in its Glasgow and Edinburgh offices.
The Met in Bangkok, Thailand by Singapore-based firm WOHA has scooped the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) prestigious RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the most outstanding work of international architecture by a member of the RIBA.
The four other outstanding buildings competing for this year’s title were:
■Masdar Institute, Masdar City, Abu Dhabi by Foster + Partners
■Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou, China by Zaha Hadid Architects
■Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA by Foster + Partners
■Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, USA by Rick Mather Architects +SMBW
Speaking about the building, the RIBA Lubetkin Prize jury chair and RIBA President, Angela Brady said:
At the outset, we would like to thank Alexander for his time and sharing his deep understanding on the challenges and opportunities presented by the wider property market in India.
Where does one start when looking at the Indian population demographic and how it will affect the local property industry ?
Let’s begin with the sheer volume. The population of India is close to 1.2 billion people, second only to China who currently stands at over 1.3 billion.
By 2025 India will surpass China as the most populace place on earth, and by 2050 India will have over 20% more people than China – a difference of almost 500 million people (this difference being larger than the entire US population). Current growth rates are some 20 million new Indian citizens per annum, and rising. We already have a shortfall of over 22 million dwellings (supply v demand), this being the starting point before we consider any of these demographic changes taking place, and the effect they will have on demand. But the age distribution of the population is the really important statistic for India over the next 40 years. 30% of India’s current population is 14yrs and below, with a median age of only 25.9 years – this is 26% lower than the median age in China and 32% lower than the US.
Whilst the developed world has had a gradual slowing of population after the post war baby boom years, China has had a policy induced change which has resulted in an abrupt shift in the population bell curve. China is nearing the end of a period of massive expansion driven by a huge labour pool and consumer demand. The median age of the Chinese population is getting older at a very rapid rate, before long the equation of those producing against those needing support will turn upside down. China will then be with the developed world looking at a situation where there are too many dependants and too few producers, low (if any) population increase, and minimal (in any) demand for new property. In India we find that by default we are one of the very few places where we can rely on massive demand for property well into this century and beyond.
At present it is accepted that around 25% of the population are middle class consumers (of property and the like) with the balance of close to 1 billion people making up an aspirant class who would all like to participate in the new economy, and who are all looking for the means to do so. India has 29% of its people currently in the urban cities with an urbanisation rate of 2.4% per annum. This means India has one of the worlds least urban populations with massive slabs of the population able to change over to an urban and consuming profile. Let’s look at some of the underlying statistics that will affect the property market in India over coming years;
- Starting point of unmet demand that exceeds 22 million dwellings
- Population growth of over 20 million per annum
- Shrinking household sizes (currently over 5.5 pph) with a world average of only 2.4 pph.
- Massive urbanisation underway. Starting at only 29% and rising at better than
- 2.4% per annum.
- A current non consuming aspirant population of close to 1 billion people.
- A very young population that is entering a production phase.
The demand side of the equation in India is all but assured. The question is “what exactly is the demand going to be for, and how and when will the demand profile change ?” As a developer you can still go broke if you produce the wrong product. This is the conundrum for our industry, accurately predicting the exact profile of the demand, and doing so 3-5 years ahead of the market. Too often we see the development community taking a herd mentality, and based on not much more than hearsay, producing large volumes of the wrong product - either in the wrong price point, wrong location or wrong format. The market has to be met. More and more developers are now looking at sound research based decision making that really analyses the market, carefully looks at where the demand should be, and then delivers suitable product.
This is the challenge for companies like LJ Hooker, getting partnered with development companies early enough so we can provide significant relevant input to allow the formation of intelligent well thought through decisions.
The Indian market will deliver in spades over coming years to those companies that can produce the product that the market requires.
MUMBAI: With the high networth individuals (HNWIs) population showing a robust growth of 33.2 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region last year, India and China are likely to remain the fastest-growing HNWI segment in the world, a report said today.
Emerging Asia (China, India, Indonesia and Thailand) is fast becoming the main engine of growth in the Asia-Pacific region and its HNWI segment showed a robust growth of 33.2 per cent in 2009, with wealth up 40.4 per cent, according to the 2010 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report released by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini, here.
India and China were the only two major Asia-Pacific countries in which industrial production actually rose in 2009, as they enjoyed a more diversified export market and broader domestic demand.
Hong Kong and India, which experienced the world's largest decline in HNWI population and wealth in 2008, experienced the strongest resurgence in 2009. The population of HNWIs grew 104.4 per cent in Hong Kong, almost reaching pre-crisis levels and 50.9 per cent in India, the report said.
HNWI wealth in Hong Kong and India jumped 108.9 per cent and 53.8 per cent, respectively, amid strong growth in both markets and macro-economic drivers of wealth.
"The strong economic resurgence in India has been boosted primarily by the country's stock market capitalisation which more than doubled in 2009 after dropping 64.1 per cent in 2008," Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, India, Chairman, Pradeep Dokania, told reporters here.
"The increased confidence by Indian HNWIs facilitated by the strength of the underlying economy which grew 6.8 per cent in 2009 has resulted in a surge in HNWI wealth in the region," Dokania said.
"China and India will lead the way in the Asia-Pacific region with economic expansion and HNWI growth is likely to keep out-pacing more developed economics," he said.
China's rapid GDP growth is expected to slow a little to 8.3 per cent in 2011. Going forward, China is expected to focus on balancing its economy by boosting the service sector and driving private consumption.
Source: Economic Times
The kind of liquidity flows that the Indian markets have seen and as a result of which the rally that we have had, how long do you think both of these phenomenon could continue?
There were two factors here. First factor is obviously the flow of domestic Indian savings into the Indian equity markets and clearly when you have negative real interest rates in India that encourages domestic savers into the equity market because money markets and bond investments in real terms are unattractive.
The second way of looking at it is to look at foreign investors who are first of all looking at the outlook for emerging markets. Generally the consensus is increasingly positive on emerging equity markets. They are looking at India versus other markets, most notably comparing India with China and Brazil as the two other major emerging markets. Obviously this year we have seen a significant out-performance by India and if we look at for example India versus China, India is up 33% versus China. The big difference is partly due to the headwinds that the Chinese market has faced. Possibly in the last three months, investors have been focussing on the slowdown in the Chinese economy. Earlier the investors were concerned about tightening of monetary policy in China. More recently in the last couple of days, investors are concerned about statements coming out from China about capital raising and risks in the banking system. Hence, you have had a lot of negative news flow, which has directed foreign investors into the Indian market and out of the Chinese market.
What about the foreign money flowing into emerging markets and particularly India because over the last fortnight, there has been some amount of flows coming into our markets in particular in excess of $1.5 billion? Do you think this trend is likely to continue or do you think now foreign investors can get a little bit cautious if we run too ahead?
My view is that foreign investors actually will remain positive on India given the strong macroeconomic environment and also given an expectation that come January-February, the monetary tightening cycle could be over by then. Obviously in the next two or three months, interest rates would go up further. Subsequently we will see some easing of monetary policy in the first quarter of next year. Having said that, there is some increasing concern amongst foreign investors, if you look at India on a forward price earnings multiple relative to China and Brazil and particularly compared with Russia, obviously India is now looking as one of the more expensive emerging markets. Hence, on that basis, purely on a valuation basis not on the basis of the very strong macroeconomic fundamentals, we could see some slowdown in the foreign flow. I do not see any major reversal though and a lot of that foreign capital flow is what I called sustainable and durable capital investment as opposed to hot money, which is in one week and then out the next.
What could actually wrinkle the growth in equity markets from here onwards? What could hamper growth from here onwards?
Clearly the risk is that the RBI tightens monetary policy too aggressively. We would all agree that the RBI has been moving very cautiously on tightening monetary policy so far and that's clearly demonstrated by the fact that real interest rates remain negative. Another risk factor, which again is minor, is what would happen if we had a spike in commodity prices. This would be very good for markets like Brazil and Russia as commodity producers and obviously negative for India and China. If I am right and for example oil prices gently move up to $80 a barrel, copper prices by the first quarter of next year move up to between 8000-8500 per tonne, that gentle rise in commodity prices is not going to derail very good numbers that we are seeing out of the Indian economy. Another risk factor obviously, which the RBI is watching carefully is what happens if there is a strengthening of Asian currency and particularly strengthening of Indian rupee. Currency strength has been a factor in the past, which has been negative for the Indian equity market but with negative real interest rates, the RBI will be successful in arresting any upward pressure on the currency. Therefore, there are risk factors out there but I would say at the moment they are all minor risk factors.
What would be an immediate red light for global equities in general and, therefore, Indian equities as well?
I see there are two global risk factors to watch. First is in America where obviously the Democrats are under severe pressure ahead of the midterm elections and clearly we will see some Republican gains. At this stage it is actually unclear as to the extent of those potential gains but if we have political gridlock between the Democrats and the Republicans in the States, then it is potentially a problem because the Bush income tax cuts roll off in November. Now it is very important for the American economy that those tax cuts be extended or rolled over because if they are not, then there is potentially a negative effect on the American economy of between 1.5 and 2% of real GDP. Hence, although I do not think there is going to be a double-dip recession in the US, clearly the risk of economic recession increases if those income tax cuts are not extended, so that's risk factor no. 1 we have to watch.
Risk factor no. 2 is here in Europe and the pressure on the weaker banks in the weaker European economies and in addition potential restructuring of Greek debt remains a major issue.
Let's focus mainly on metals and particularly gold, which is seeing new highs almost on a daily basis and also in terms of the industrial metals, what's the outlook there?
On industrial metals, we will see a modest upside on the basis that there is weakness in the Chinese economy. Chinese demand will be the key driver in industrial metals and most notably in the copper market.
On gold, clearly we have seen a recent upside, that upside has not been driven by a fear of renewed inflation but it has been driven by weakness in the US dollar against really all currencies and I would argue most notably against the Euro and the Swiss Franc. In recent weeks, we have seen quite significant renewed US dollar weakness against the Euro, with Euro now trading close to 130-150. If the dollar weakens it will be reflected in higher gold prices. My forecast for gold at the end of this year was always 1300, frankly I am going to be wrong because this is going to happen over the next few days.
In India, is it still the domestic consumption plays and financials that would look attractive at this point in time?
The answer to that is very much is 'yes' and I would just reemphasize the solid nature of the balance sheets of the Indian banks. It is interesting today when we have official Chinese statements focussing on risks in their financial system, which has worried some investors. In contrast I do not think there are any concerns about the quality of bank assets in India.
Source: Economic Times
INDIA expects to become a bigger business partner of China and welcomes Chinese investment into its infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. It also hopes to export value-added technologies to China.
A delegation of 70 companies in sectors ranging from IT and machinery to pharmaceuticals and agriculture are in Shanghai this week, seeking business opportunities and celebrating India's national day at the World Expo on Wednesday.
"China and India are becoming more interdependent," said V K Topa, managing director of Invest India, at a conference today in Shanghai. "As the world's two most populous countries, China and India are together because many issues in today's business world are relevant to both of us." China is India's second-largest trading partner while the number of Chinese investors in India is also on the rise. Bilateral trade has been expanding at a rate of more than 40 percent in recent years. China's imports from India surged 75.3 percent to US$13.3 billion in the first seven months of this year from the same period last year, while exports to India jumped 40.1 percent to US$22.1 billion, according to China's Customs. Topa said India is a big and lucrative market for Chinese investors when everything is just taking off, and India has the "skills" China needs to upgrade its manufacturing structure.
Sha Hailin, chairman of the Shanghai Commission of Commerce, said China, especially Shanghai, can learn a lot from India, particularly in the service outsourcing sector. "We should further promote collaboration between China and India and have more exchanges in investment, technology, projects and research," Sha said. Chinese companies such as ZTE Corp and China Wireless Technologies Ltd have already entered India for market potentials there.
Source: Shanghai Daily
The Sudanese government has officially issued the approval letter for the Upper Atbara Hydro Junction Project's construction and its water facilities to the joint venture of China International Water & Electric Corporation and its parent company, the China Three Gorges Corporation, with the total contract worth 838 million U.S. dollars, the China Three Gorges Corporation announced on April 7.
The Upper Atbara Hydro Junction Project will obtain financial support from the Sudanese government and the total time of construction will be five years and four months. Currently, it is the largest single construction project any Chinese company has undertaken in Sudan and also the second largest overseas single hydraulic engineering project signed by a Chinese company.
The signing of the contract agreement marks that China Three Gorges Corporation has successfully pushed through its strategy of going global and has carried out its internationalized operating strategy.
The project is located at the border area between Kassala State and Gedaref State in eastern Sudan, 460 kilometers away from Khartoum Road. In addition, the project consists of the Rumira Dam, Bodana Dam, as well as other ancillary works. The project is aimed at providing irrigation and water supply as well as power generation.
The joint venture will build a reservoir with a storage capacity of around 3 billion cubic meters and an irrigation area of 500,000 hectares. Moreover, the reservoir will provide 7 million people with irrigation water, 3 million people with drinking water and millions more with electricity, which will benefit at least one-third of Sudan's population.
A grand signing ceremony was held in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on April 6 in the presence of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Moreover, the director of the Dams Executive Bureau directly under the Sudanese President signed the contract with China Three Gorges Corporation Deputy General Manager Lin Chuxue, and the General Manger of China International Water & Electric Corporation Lu Guojun.
Seriously, this is the future that China's envisioning: huge friggin' buses engulfing smaller cars on the road. Despite the silly picture and the eccentric "3D Express Coach" branding, this cunning project by Shenzhen Huashi Future Car-Parking Equipment actually makes sense. The idea is to make use of the space between regular-size cars and bridges, thus saving construction costs as well as minimizing congestion impact by allowing cars to drive underneath these jumbo buses. Fancy hitching a ride? You better start planning your move to Beijing's Mentougou district, which is where Huashi will commence building its first 186km of track at year's end. For now, enjoy the Chinese demo video after the break (translation text at source link).