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Costain bids for Birmingham road scheme

COSTAIN IS bidding for the £400M main construction contract for the Birmingham Northern Relief Road after Kvaerner pulled out of the project, it emerged this week.

The contractor said it was bidding in joint venture with Swedish contractor Skanska, which owns 7% of Costain.

Last week Costain announced it had increased pre-tax profits from £500,000 in 1998 to £2.1M in 1999, despite reorganisation costs of £4.7M. Turnover fell from £391.5M to £378.1M.

Costain said its re-emergence as a bidder for major road schemes resulted from the success of its joint venture with Skanksa, with which it won the £124M contract for the M2 widening in November in a consortium also involving Mowlem.

The joint venture is bidding for the estimated £180M contract to redevelop the Bull Ring shopping centre in Birmingham.

Chief executive John Armitt said he was optimistic that the venture would help improve Costain's share price, which has obstinately remained at 12.5p, valuing the company at £42M.

He said: 'Skanska has given Costain the strength of one of the world's best contractors and a financial reputation few in the industry can match.'

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