Cash split between 154 senior staff 

The 154 partners at Foster & Partners have shared a bumper bonus payment of more than £31m, the firm’s recently filed accounts have revealed.

The architect said it had paid out close to £34.5m in exceptional items for the year to April 2020 and in a note said it had made a “restructuring bonus” of £31.4m. The amount works out at an average of just under £204,000 per partner.

Norman Foster

Norman Foster

It added that a further £3m had been paid out in professional fees and stamp duty as part of the restructuring.

The restructuring was approved in July 2019 and, according to notes accompanying the accounts, “involved a newly incorporated company becoming the ultimate parent of the group by the acquisition of the entire share capital of the former ultimate parent company”.

The practice said turnover in the year was up 5% to £272m with pre-tax profit falling from £21.5m to £11.9m. The number of employees was up 9% to 1,424, based in offices on four continents. A new office was opened in Shenzhen this year, “reflecting the practice’s growing strength in the region”. 

While 80% of staff are based in the Battersea headquarters, 90% of revenue is generated outside of the UK, said a note in the 70 pages of accounts filed with Companies House.

Its biggest market during the period was the Middle East with around one third of its business from the region. Income from the UK fell from £24.5m to £15.8m.

In his unusually lengthy chairman’s statement, practice founder Norman Foster said the covid-19 crisis “has tested our resiliency as a practice”.

But he added: “We have surprised ourselves by a collective ability to not only survive but to perform beyond all expectations.”

He paid tribute to all his staff, from the youngest to the most senior, saying: ”Their collective efforts have produced a performance during this current pandemic which defies description in its show of commitment and levels of sacrifice.

”As we enter a new financial year with the impacts of covid-19 ongoing, I have no doubt that, as a team, we will eventually emerge stronger, more united in spirit and, in the healthiest possible sense, more competitive.”

>> Also read: Norman Foster on covid and the future of cities