Business barometer — Morgan Sindall takes top spot thanks to wins at affordable housing arm

This time last year Kier topped the league table with 58 new contracts worth £375m. That was July 2007 and a month before the words “credit crunch” became part of our everyday vocabulary.

A year later, Morgan Sindall heads the leader board with 34 contracts worth £163m. The fact that it won less than half the value of Kier’s contracts did is not a great portent one year into the downturn.

Overall, the top 30 companies won 328 contracts worth £1.7bn in July, compared with 409 deals worth £2.2bn last year.

Morgan Sindall’s big wins give a clue as to which areas of the economy are still holding up. The first was a £60m deal won by its Lovell arm to repair and maintain 16,700 homes for Haringey council in London. The other was a similar £15.7m deal in Liverpool.

As with June, the social housing sector dominated the top of the leader board last month, accounting for 57% of the work won by the top four companies.

In second spot was Lakehouse Contracts with eight deals worth £153m. A social housing repair and maintenance deal for the London borough of Camden accounted for £150m of the haul.

In third spot was HBG, which did well given that it did not win any social housing work. It bagged a £40m commercial deal in central London and a £18.5m education contract for the Quaerere academy in Birmingham.

Rok finished in fourth position with a total haul of £121m. Of that, £87m was social housing work. Its wins included a £30m deal for Home Group Central in the Midlands and a £25m contract in Cornwall.

In fifth place was Willmott Dixon with £115m of new work, which included a £30m deal for a theatre in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, and a £25m sports complex for the University of Surrey.

In the rolling 12-month table, Laing O’Rourke narrowed Balfour Beatty’s lead at the top from £323m to £208m and HBG leapfrogged Kier to take third place.