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Skanska foundation firms pool resources worldwide

CONSTRUCTION GIANT Skanska has brought all its foundation companies together under one umbrella to create one of the largest foundation businesses in the world.

The Skanska Foundations Group is made up of 10 companies employing more than 4000 people and operating in 14 countries worldwide, with a combined turnover of £350M.

The new group will enable individual operating companies to pool their technical skills, plant and personnel to enhance their capabilities for taking on large complex contracts, while retaining their own identities.

'We have a decentralised company structure where local businesses are locally managed, ' said Skanska Cementation Foundations deputy chairman Mike Putnam.

Putnam, who is also managing director of Skanska UK Specialist Businesses, chairs the small executive team that directs the foundations group.

He said clients would benefit from the group having a much larger choice of resources combined with the strengths of the local businesses.

'The resources of all 10 businesses are available so the group can cover all types of work internationally, ' he said.

'Because all the businesses are in the same family there are no hidden agendas or secrets. It is worth us coming together for added value, particularly for major projects. This is better than a joint venture because of the family ties, ' he said.

Large projects will benefit from companies being able to borrow rigs or technical personnel from other foundation firms within Skanska. 'If people know of additional resources within the group, then they can be brought into the project and highly technical skills can be imported from country to country, ' Putnam said.

'This gives the businesses a real competitive edge.

Although they will continue to operate independently in their own markets, the added depth now available from their sister companies will be a major advantage when taking on technically challenging projects.

The group's executive team is made up of representatives from four of the member firms:

American company Underpinning, Swedish-based Skanska Grundläggning, Hong Kong's Gammon Construction and Cementation Foundations Skanska in the UK.

The business heads of all 10 firms will meet twice a year.

Collaborations so far include Gammon sending a hydromill to Stratford in east London for Cementation Foundations to use to build the Stratford box on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. UK engineers are also supporting Underpinning in the USA with the bidding for a diaphragm wall, mini piling and grouting project.

A group extranet will allow firms to share information about expertise, plant and personnel.

Skanska UK appointed civil engineer David Fison as its new chief executive last month following the promotion of Keith Clarke to the main board of the Swedish parent company. Fison's responsibilities include developing the group's mining business, Cementation Skanska and its oil and gas business.

The Skanska Foundation Group Skanska Grundläggning, Sweden Skanska Danmark Skanska Tekra, Finland Skanska EMV, Estonia Underpinning, USA Tidewater, USA Cementation Foundations Skanska, UK Gammon Construction, Hong Kong Entreprenørservice, Norway Skanska Cementation India

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