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Mouchel seeks £20M stock market cash for infrastructure projects


CONSULTANT MOUCHEL this week announced plans to raise £20M on the London Stock Exchange to fund investment in private infrastructure projects.

Money raised will also go into acquisitions and start up costs for major long term contracts with clients such as the Highways Agency and local authorities.

Mouchel is Britain's 16th largest consultant, earning fees of £66M in 2001, according to this year's NCE Consultants File. In the year to 31 July 2001, it made pre-tax profits of £4.3M compared to £3.5M in 2000. Total turnover was £71.5M compared to £62.4M in 2000.

The firm has now repositioned itself to work on long term infrastructure management and public private partnership (PPP) projects. 'These contracts provide secure and visible income streams, ' it said in a statement on Monday.

This week, the company announced that it was part of the consortium chosen as preferred bidder for Hertfordshire County Council's three to 10 year term maintenance and traffic management contract.

So far, Mouchel's relatively small size has stopped it from investing in PPP projects other than the privately financed Pevensy Bay sea defence project. There it invested a small sum despite taking a leading role in developing the project.

Mouchel business development director Stuart Black said he hoped the firm would invest more in the PPP to upgrade Portsmouth City Council's trunk roads.

'We are in a 50-50 joint venture with Balfour Beatty on the Portsmouth roads PFI and, depending on whether we get our listing, we will be investing in it, ' said Black.

Mouchel also needs to finance the cost of putting together teams in order to resource recently awarded long term Highways Agency maintenance contracts.

'The recent success in winning new contracts with the Highways Agency will result in a cash requirement to finance mobilisation costs and to fund working capital, and this trend is expected to continue as Mouchel bids for further contracts, ' said the firm.

www. mouchel. com

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