Chief executive points to ‘strong’ results and performance in overseas markets

Carillion’s new chief executive has outlined plans to grow £1bn businesses in both Canada and the Middle East as the firm announced its full year results.

Richard Howson, who took over from previous chief executive John McDonough at the start of the year, told Building he was pleased by what he called the “strong” set of results announced on Wednesday (29 February).

Although pre-tax profit dropped 15% from £168m in 2010 to £143m last year on flat turnover of just over £5bn, Howson said this was due to the “exceptional charge” of £40m worth of restructuring associated with Carillion’s acquisition of solar panel specialist Eaga.

Such restructuring was projected to cost £25m but the government’s decision to slash the rate of the feed-in tariff had resulted in a further £15m worth of costs, Howson said.

Pointing to the group’s performance in Canada and the Middle East, he said he intended to grow both businesses to around £1bn by 2015.

Around 60 families have relocated to the two markets to take up new jobs with Carillion in the last year alone.

“We are well placed to take advantage of the Canadian market, with PPP work worth £35bn coming to market in Ontario alone over the next three years,” Howson said.

A Carillion joint venture reached financial close on a £1.4bn PPP hospital in Canada last August with the value of the business in the country now around £750m.

Turning to the Middle East, Howson said the strength of the Qatar and Saudi markets made him confident of doubling the £500m size of the business today in the same timescale.

Significant wins in the region last year included a £400m contract within the “Heart of Doha” project last December by a consortium led by Carillion.