French group aims to acquire network of regional subsidiaries starting with £100-200m firm

French contractor Bouygues is looking to buy a British regional contractor with a turnover around the £100-200m mark as part of a plan to grow its UK business.

Pascal Minault, managing director of Bouygues UK, said he hoped to complete a deal by the end of this year, adding: “We’re looking at potential acquisitions to build a network of regional subsidiaries.”

Bouygues UK is based in Waterloo, central London, but ultimately aims to buy and form a series of regional businesses, emulating the way the company grew in France.

UK turnover peaked in 2004 with the Home Office HQ
UK turnover peaked in 2004 with the Home Office headquarters

Although Bouygues has been in the UK for 10 years, its turnover has been steady at £50-100m, apart from 2004, when it recorded a peak of £164m, thanks to the £311m Home Office project in Marsham Street, London.

Even without an acquisition the company is hoping to increase turnover to £130-150m next year and £200m by 2010. Minault said Bouygues was “over-investing” in bidding for work to ensure it could meet its ambitious targets.

He added that growth had been “held back” by delays to PFI hospitals, caused by a government review. However, Minault said Bouygues hoped to reach financial close this summer on the £120m Broomfield Hospital in Essex and the £111m north Middlesex project, where it is preferred bidder.