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Building post of 19 June 2020 by Dave RogersElizabeth Hopkirk elaborates on one of the consequences of the current conjecture as Zaha Hadid warns coronavirus could hit profit

Impact on cashflow could become more significant in coming months, say directorsSHOW FULLSCREEN

Zaha Hadid has become the first architect to warn of the impact covid-19 could have on its bottom line.

In accounts filed at Companies House for Zaha Hadid Holdings, which were signed off on 27 May by director Brian Clarke, the practice said: “The impact [of covid-19] on the business to date has been relatively minor in terms of current profitability and cashflow, however, this may be more significant over the coming months.”

Zaha Hadid warns coronavirus could hit profit
Source: Laurian Ghinitoiu
Zaha Hadid Architects’ Opus hotel and flats in Dubai. The ME Hotel opened in the building this year.

It added: “The company and wider group is able to utilise covid-19 governmental support, can reduce costs in line with sales and has available external credit facilities that are yet to be fully utilised.”

The firm, which said competition for UK work was “currently very challenging”, also flagged worries over how many staff it could recruit from overseas to work at its London office.

It said: “There is considerable uncertainty on the post-Brexit visa arrangements for skilled persons moving to and working in the UK.”

In April, Eric Parry warned that his staff could not work from home indefinitely without productivity being hit.

Zaha Hadid Holdings’ turnover in the year to April 2019 jumped one third to £62m but pre-tax profit slipped from £4.8m to £1.9m. The firm said it had been hit by exceptional costs of £2.6m which it said were non-project legal and consulting fees.

The practice is locked in a legal wrangle, with one director, Patrik Schumacher, pitted against his fellow executors of Zaha Hadid’s will.

The directors estimate the value of the firm’s head office, Bowling Green Lane in Clerkenwell, to be £11m while Shad Thames, the former home of the Design Museum which it aquired to house the Zaha Hadid Foundation in 2013, had increased in value to £7.25m since tenants were found, they said. The accounts said the firm also sold three properties in the US last year.

The accounts, which paint a similar picture to those issued by subsidiary Zaha Hadid Limited in April, also said headcount rose 17% in the year to the end of April 2019, from 361 to 424.

In April a spokesman for the practice said a small number of staff had been furloughed but that there had been no redundancies or pay cuts. It was also planning to recruit more staff in China where it had won new work.

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