Contractor now has £500m to spend on acquisition targets

Contractor Costain has increased its banking facilities by £90m to £435m, despite having no borrowings and £100m of cash in the bank, it said in a statement today.

It said the facilities were “to support the delivery of its strategy,” with chief executive Andrew Wyllie having made no secret of his desire to strengthen the firm through acquisition.

Costain recently had a series of offers to buy consultant Mouchel rebuffed by the firm, but Wyllie told the FT earlier this year the firm was looking at a “range of other acquisition possibilities”.

It said tendering levels remained high, and that it had managed to maintain its £2.3bn forward order book over the last six weeks despite “uncertain market conditions.”

The firm said it had preferred bidder positions on £400m of work, also the same as at its interim management statement in May. It said it had now secured £900m of work this year, compared to £850m announced in May.

It said the firm was trading in line with expectations. “Against a backdrop of well-publicised uncertain market conditions, the Group has continued to implement its strategy successfully and has secured contracts from its blue chip customers in chosen sectors whose major spending plans are underpinned by strategic national needs, regulatory commitments or essential maintenance requirements,” it said.

Costain also confirmed that it has won the £80m Reading Station refurbishment job from Network Rail, in partnership with Hochtief. This win was predicted by Building earlier this month.