Contractor bulks up by 100 staff in order to service £360m Express Rail Link jobs

Laing O’Rourke is taking on 100 staff at its Hong Kong office in a move that will almost double the size of its operations there, shortly after winning two major Chinese high-speed rail jobs.

The contractor is bulking up to meet the needs of recent large Hong Kong-based infrastructure contracts as well as to target growth opportunities in the wider region. It will take the number of Laing O’Rourke employees at the company’s main South-east Asian office to a total of 250.

A spokesperson for Laing O’Rourke said: “As part of the group’s 2020 growth strategy, Hong Kong was identified as an important market.

“We continue to see strong opportunities to build a major presence in the region and will recruit the construction and engineering talent necessary to secure future workload.”

Infrastructure growth in Asian markets is forecast to be 135% by 2020, compared with 20% in the UK, according to economic consultancies Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics.

Over the past year MTR Corporation, the operator of Hong Kong’s mass transit system, awarded Laing two major rail packages to help connect Hong Kong to the Chinese high-speed rail network. In January it won a £260m contract on the Express Rail Link project as part of a joint venture with two Chinese contractors, while in June last year it picked up a £100m joint venture to build tunnels for the project with engineering contractor Bachy Soletanche.

Kier and Balfour Beatty also won related contracts last year.