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UK gears up for Euro payments

USE OF the Single European Currency could spread to the British construction sector despite the UK's decision to stay out.

Some firms believe that if the Euro starts to compete with the US dollar as one of the world's most stable currencies, they could soon be receiving payments in Euros for work outside Europe.

Consultant Ove Arup expects that major multinational clients such as banks will soon start to insist on paying their construction teams in Euros. 'The banking sector has invested heavily in Euro compliance and we would expect them to push hard for a return,' said Ove Arup senior accountant Stephen Priddy.

But contractors and consultants which trade within the 11 European countries to have adopted the Euro said the launch of the currency on Monday was unlikely to have a major impact on the way they do business.

Many firms have set up trading accounts to accept payment in Euros, in the same way that they have for payments in deutschmarks or French francs. Some already had systems for handling ECU payments, before the Euro launch.

A spokesman for Tarmac, which has substantial interests in the Euro zone, notably in France, said: 'We will not be invoicing in Euros, but our accounting systems will be able to handle invoicing and customer tendering in Euros by mid-1999.'

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