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Colas takes off with Gatwick job and hunts for international work

UK highways maintenance contractor Colas is targeting international wins to boost its growing airport resurfacing operation, NCE has learned.

Colas UK operations director Carl Fergusson told NCE that the firm was targeting work abroad after making a significant investment in people and plant for airport jobs.

The firm is currently in the midst of a major project to resurface the runway at Gatwick Airport as key supplier to main contractor Volker Fitzpatrick.

It has invested heavily for the project, buying a £2M highly mobile Intrame UM280 asphalt plant and also taking delivery of a brand new Vogele 1803-2 paver.

The Intrame plant is the second such plant purchased by Colas in the past two years - bringing its fleet of mobile plants to three in the UK to support what it sees as a growing market.

Fergusson is targeting work at Heathrow and Edinburgh airports in the UK, but is aware that the new plant must be kept busy.

“We in the UK have invested heavily in the last two or three years in equipment and people to support our business going forward. New equipment doesn’t come cheap,” said Fergusson.

“And it costs a lot of money to leave an asphalt plant doing nothing. “So we are looking at Commonwealth countries; places with British heritage, where British Standards are used, the law used is British law and where other British companies operate,” he said.

It would also want to work in regions where its French parent Colas Group and its ultimate owner Bouygues operate and can provide local labour. “We’re talking about going to places where Colas Group is already active,” said Fergusson. “So we are not going to places where we will have to stand on our own.

“What we are exporting is our expertise in project managing asphalt paving contracts and our knowledge of working on some of the busiest airports in the world.”

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