Contractor's chief executive tips unlisted firm to increase turnover to £95m this year after recording 100% increase in the 15 months to December.
Privately owned construction group Benson predicts that its turnover will rise to nearly £100m this year after record growth in the 15 months ending in December.

Turnover doubled from £38m to £76.7m in that time, with operating profit rising from £636 000 to £939 000. Group turnover was £14m in 1998.

Chief executive Alistair Sloan was bullish about the prospects for this year. He said: "We're budgeting for £95m this year. And we're aiming to be the top medium-sized contractor in southern England." If it hits this target it will become one of the UK's top 75 contractors The group has a fit-out operation in London and construction offices in Reigate in Surrey, Solihull in the West Midlands and Southampton.

All four bases significantly raised turnover. Work at the London fit-out office increased from £10m in 1998 to £31m last year, while turnover at its Reigate business is expected to reach £40m after achieving £33m last year.

The Solihull office reported turnover of £5m, although Sloan expects this figure to rise eventually to £20m. The Southampton arm, established in 1999, increased turnover to £7m last year. Staff numbers across the group more than doubled to 214 in the 15 months to December 2000.

Sloan ruled out any immediate acquisitions in favour of start-ups to cover the geographical gaps between its Southampton and Solihull offices.

He said the group did not attract headlines because it did not go for large, high-profile jobs.

Benson's average contract size was £1.5m, with the biggest, the Lakeside Switch Centre at Thurrock, Essex, worth about £7m.

But Sloan said Benson had carved out a profitable niche by targeting smaller contracts. He said: "Our advantage is that we focus on the projects that our competitors won't. But to make a profit we have to have tight, well-controlled teams.

He added that the firm relied on repeat business – "clients for life".

Clients include P&O Nedlloyd, Deutsche Bank, Barnado's and the prison service.