BACHY SOLETANCHE'S record 44% growth last year leaves the contractor clear market leader in the geotechnical sector, it emerged this month.
Success in the heavy piling market, and in joint venture partnerships with main contractors, helped boost the company's turnover to £108M - £28M higher than nearest rival Roger Bullivant, putting the firm top of Ground Engineering's list of UK geotechnical firms by turnover.
'Our major contracts on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and at Heathrow's Terminal 5 all peaked last year, ' explained business development manager Chris Thomas. 'Larger diameter rotary and continuous flight auger piling remain our core market, though we are already broadening our client base by diversifying into smaller projects.'
Bachy Soletanche's involvement in two major CTRL contracts, which total £450M, is as full joint venture partners with main contractors. Thomas claimed the company's independence and strong design expertise continued to attract further partnership deals with major civils and financial customers.
'The depressed London commercial market is now showing signs of recovery, but we must counter the worrying decline in major civils infrastructure projects, ' he said.
'Opening regional offices in Scotland and the Midlands is already boosting turnover and we remain strong in the CFA market.'
Subsidiary piling company Westpile, acquired this spring following purchase of its name and plant from then owner Interserve, is concentrating on CFA projects (see box). From this standing start, the resurrected company is expected to contribute about £4M to Bachy Soletanche's forecast £80M-plus turnover this year.
'Our 2004 turnover will be slightly down on last year's record, though if our diversification plans perform as anticipated, we still hope to retain our position as market leader, ' Thomas added.
The top 20 geotechnical organisations by turnover table published in this year's UK Geotechnical Services File included an incorrect figure for Bachy Soletanche. The firm's turnover figure actually puts it in top spot. Apologies.