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UK firms lag in Olympic warm up

BRITISH FIRMS are missing out on extensive infrastructure works in Greece, a conference in London heard last week. And with Athens hosting the 2004 Olympic Games, there is more work on its way.

European Union-funded and private finance opportunities are extensive, said Mario Donetti of Mott MacDonald, at the Athens 2004 - Olympic business opportunities conference in London this week.

'But British firms are conspicuous by their absence,' he added. Mott MacDonald is among the few British consultants which has entered the Greek market. French, German and other European firms, as well as Greek contractors themselves, are in the market.

The only 'British' contractor on the scene, according to Donetti, is Christiani & Nielson, which is finishing the country's first immersed tube tunnel at Preveza.

Major projects include Hochtief's new international airport, the PATHE country-long motorway, railways and the Athens metro. EU Cohesion Fund money is expected to continue over the next five year period.

Two of the biggest Olympic projects, the Olympic village and the highway to link the new airport into a road around Athens, are to be privately funded. Around 175M is to be spent on the Olympics with one third on construction.

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