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Rumbles hails Mouchel as order book hits £2bn

A reborn Mouchel has announced plans to recruit 600 engineers over the next 12 months to service a record £2bn order book.

The firm announced its resurgence last week in its annual results for the year ended 30 September.

The year marked the completion of an operational restructuring programme that began in early 2012 with the delisting of the firm from the London Stock Exchange and majority ownership transfer to its banks.

From then until the end of March 2013 new chief executive Grant Rumbles has led a root and branch review of the firm’s structure and activities.

“This has been a year of transformation for Mouchel,” said Rumbles. “We over-achieved on all of our targets in our business plan. We reduced our cost base by £21M rather than the planned £18M and we have a very strong order book today in excess of £2bn.

In February Mouchel acquired the remaining 50% of its highways and maintenance joint venture EnterpriseMouchel for £25M after the remainder of Enterprise was sold to Amey. Mouchel rebranded the company as EM Highway Services in August.

The changes have made the firm into a profit-making organisation.

The firm boasted a pretax profit of £16.6M on revenue of £555M and Rumbles said the performance exceeded even his expectations.
The firm has landed over £1bn in contract wins during the year, including the lucrative Asset Support Contract (ASC) to maintain motorways and trunk roads in the Highways Agency’s Area 3 in southern England.

That deal is worth up to £700M over five years and is the firm’s largest-ever contract.

And this week it is tipped to have landed the latest ASC to be awarded - Area 9 around Birmingham.

It has also secured a five-year contract worth £125M to maintain roads in Scotland, two major highways maintenance deals in Australia in a 50/50 joint venture with Downer, and a seven-year contract for highways-related services with Norfolk County Council.

As a result the order book now stands at £2bn, up from £1.7bn at the year-end, and matches the record level reached in 2008. Once the Area 8 win is confirmed this will grow again.

“I am delighted to announce we are also recruiting again - 600 engineers in the next year alone.,” said Rumbles.

“All of this demonstrates our long-held view that with the right debt structure, cost base and leadership team Mouchel is a profitable company with a strong and sustainable future.”

The 600 engineers will be recruited into the UK, Australia and Middle East, with around 300 likely to join the UK-based business.

The 600 jobs being added are on top of 300 already recruited this year. The firm now employs 6,500 people based in the UK, the Middle East and Australia.

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