Atkins fired up after Games lift

The engineering giant charged with keeping London's Olympic flame burning this summer provided an antidote to the Bank of England's gloom yesterday after a UK hiring spree.

Atkins, which oversaw the transformation of a derelict east London site into a glittering Olympic park, was responsible for regulating gas flows to the flame, pictured, during the Games and is working on the dismantling of temporary venues.

Despite warnings this week from the Bank's Governor, Sir Mervyn King, that the UK will take until 2015 to regain its pre-recession peak, Atkins' chief executive, Uwe Krueger, said the Olympics had given the company "fantastic momentum". He said: "Applications during the Olympics were up 58 per cent. We had 20,000 people apply through the website."

Atkins now has 300 more staff in the UK than a year ago. Pre-tax profits edged 5 per cent lower to £43.9m.