Firm has targeted work with long-term strategic value and is looking to grow

Costain has said it will make further acquisitions on the back of growing profit in the first six months of the year.

The contractor announced last week that its pre-tax profit had risen 23% to £10.1m as the firm targeted work with long-term strategic value. This included withdrawing from “low margin activity”, which saw turnover decrease in the same period from £533.4m to £468.5m.

Costain acquired industrial support services firm Promanex earlier this month and gas consultant ClerkMaxwell in April.

“We are looking to expand the business both organically and through acquisitions,” Costain financial director Tony Bickerstaff said.

“We see a whole host of opportunities in our three key sectors environment, infrastructure and energy and process.”

Bickerstaff added that the firm’s key clients increasingly wanted to work with a smaller number of companies offering a broader range of services and said that its investment in infrastructure had resulted in a slight fall in turnover and profit in this area.

He also clarified Costain’s ambition to double profit in the “medium term”. “Analysts have put a three to four year timeframe on that and I’m not unhappy with that,” he said.
“Our cash position is very strong. We have £149m in the bank and no debt.”