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Miller rejigs for booming civils workload

MILLER HAS reorganised its civil engineering business to cope with increasing workload and expected changes in water industry spending patterns.

The new civils operation will trade as a national contractor, focusing on three main areas - water, tunnelling and transportation.

The contractor previously traded as a regional business with each office offering a range of services.

Miller Civil Engineering currently has a turnover of pounds83M and makes margins of around 2%.

Turnover was budgeted to increase to pounds98M this year, but is now expected to rise to pounds120M before reaching pounds145M in 1999.

Miller intends to concentrate on high margin negotiated and partnering work, aiming to boost this to 80% of construction turnover while pushing margins towards 3%.

Miller Civil Engineering chairman Graham Grundon said the water division had been formed to provide a one stop shop for smaller water contracts. He expects the next round of spending - known as K3 - to yield purification projects worth between pounds500,000 and pounds750,000.

The K3 projects are expected to be let on a turnkey basis and as a result Miller has brought together its mechanical and electrical staff within the new water division.

Until now water spending has centred on large projects and Miller has worked in joint venture to spread risk.

The new tunnelling division will focus on tunnels in Britain and abroad. Miller is part of a the joint venture which is preferred bidder for the North Downs tunnel on Section 1 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (News last week).

Miller also expects to pitch for tunnelling jobs in Australia and Singapore and plans to sell tunnelling expertise to groups bidding for the pounds7bn privately financed upgrade of London's Tube network.

Meanwhile the Civil Engineering contracting division will focus on transportation projects like the Edinburgh guided bus scheme. 'We are looking at pounds50M to pounds75M local authority transport projects,' said Grundon.

Andrew Bolton

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