Business barometer — Cardiff malls keep Australian firm clear of second-placed Laing O’Rourke

Bovis Lend Lease held on to the top spot in the contractors league for April thanks to two large commercial wins from Land Securities in Cardiff, worth £316m together.

The deals were for the St David’s 2 scheme in the Welsh capital, which is the modernisation and extension of the existing St David’s centre. They include a £285m contract for a Land Securities/Capital Shopping joint venture, and a smaller scheme for Land Securities.

The Welsh wins were enough to keep Bovis almost £100m clear of Laing O’Rourke. Ray O’Rourke’s company rose to second from sixth place in March thanks to 12 contracts totalling £221m.

Both firms did well in the commercial sector, which continued to perform strongly in April. It provided contractors with £1.1bn of work, putting it well in front of the public sector, which provided £593m, and housing, which provided £515m.

Another contractor which was buoyed by the strong commercial market was Skanska, which leapt to seventh from 46 last month after winning £105m of projects in the sector.

Leadbitter also enjoyed a change of fortune after a dry March: the Oxfordshire-based company rose to sixth place with 21 project wins totalling £113m, including two housing projects on Stanhope sites.

HBG, which won a £84m Building Schools for the Future package at Solihull in the West Midlands during April, came third in the monthly league. The contractor, which won most of its £160m workload from public sector clients, also scored a £30m deal to build Anniesland College in Scotland.

Bovis Lend Lease remains top when civils are included, although Balfour Beatty leapfrogs Laing O’Rourke to second place. Balfour Beatty, whose biggest win was a £36m infrastructure PFI for Derby council, retained its place at the top of the cumulative league with a total of £3.5bn of work won over the past 12 months. This puts it £1.5bn ahead of Bovis, which won £2.1bn of work over the same period. The biggest mover in this table was Birse, the Balfour Beatty subsidiary, which rose four places to 28.