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Costain holds firm on plans for consultant purchase

Costain chief executive Andrew Wyllie has insisted his firm is still intent on buying a major consultant, despite making no moves since announcing the strategy in March.

Since then US giant URS has bought Scott Wilson and Balfour Beatty has declared its intentions to buy another consultant within the next 18 months.

Wyllie said whilst increasing client demands for firms that can offer a full service of design, construction and maintenance was continuing the consolidation of the market, his firm would not be rushed.

“What we’ve got is customers wanting to work with fewer tier one contractors over a longer period of time. We’ve set out our stall. We intend to be one of those tier one contractors and we are going to accelerate through acquisition.

“What we are not going to do is put a time-specific timeline on it. What we are being is clear on intent,” he said.

Wyllie was speaking as his firm announced results for the six months to 30 June.

Revenue was £533M, up on £508M over the same period last year. Profit before tax was also up from £6.9M to £8.2M. Net cash stands at £133M, up on £119M at the same time last year.

The firm’s order book of £2.5bn is maintained, aided by over £400M of new work secured during last six month period. This includes a five-year AMP5 contract with Welsh Water, a five-year £115M joint venture maintenance Managing Agent Contract for the Highways Agency and a Crossrail tunnel portal contract.

Further contract awards since 30 June includes the Bond Street station upgrade for London Underground.

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