Firm waiting on talks over problem PFI waste job

Costain has said interim results will be in line with expectations when they are announced next month.

In a trading update, the group said overall activity had been strong during the first half.

The order book at 30 June stood at £3.7bn, down 5%, with more than 90% being repeat orders.

Costain also said it had a preferred bidder position of more than £400m, with tendering levels “remaining high”.

It added that it will make a statement on its troubled Greater Manchester Waste PFI scheme when it knows more about the outcome of talks between the Greater Manchester Waste Authority and operator Viridor Laing.

In April, the authority said it was ending its deal with Viridor Laing early.

Viridor Laing, a consortium of the waste and resources firm Viridor and contractor turned PFI specialist John Laing, said it would negotiate for compensation on the deal which it signed for 25 years back in 2009.

The £400m scheme, which Costain won back in 2007, has dogged the firm’s profits in recent years and in its results for 2016 published earlier this year, the firm said losses on the scheme – which involves processing an estimated 1.1 million tonnes of rubbish per year at 46 sites for nine councils – had hit £15.1m for the year.

It first admitted to the problems in its 2014 interims adding that “it has been the group’s policy since 2009 not to pursue fixed-price contracts of this nature”. The scheme is expected to finish in 2019.

Costain will announce its half year results on 23 August.