Diversification and strong overseas sales pay dividends for construction manager that has spread its wings
Mace's move away from its construction management roots paid off last year, with profit increasing 72% to £2.8m.

The firm, which predicted a decline on the construction management market last year, also increased its turnover 13% to £102m for the year to 31 December 2002, according to results posted at Companies House.

Mace built its reputation on the burgeoning construction management market in the 1990s but has since branched out into project management and facilities management and sectors such as transport and regeneration work.

Chairman Bob White said he expected similar growth in profit and turnover in 2003.

He said the switch to fresh markets had continued in 2003, largely through its C2C arm. Mace bought C2C, a Manchester regeneration specialist, in September 2002.

The C2C brand is expected to continue to grow, winning work in the regions and in the public sector. White said this would include securing outsourcing deals from councils.

He said: "PFI, PPP and long-term framework deals suit our type of businesses quite well. Our business has always been about openness and transparency and that suits those markets.

Our business has always been about openness and transparency and that suits the PFI market

Bob White, chairman, Mace

"The great thing about construction management is the sort of services it offers are easily transferable to other sectors."

The growth in the business has partly come from the international division, where income grew 47% to £10.9m. Mace operates in several European countries, including Spain and Italy. It also operates in countries farer afield, such as the Gulf state of Dubai.

In his statement White pointed to continuing work with the Royal Bank of Scotland, Safeway, Dixons and BAA. He said this had buttressed its workload in the commercial sector.

White said that the firm's fit-out arm Como, set up at the beginning of the year, had performed well. He said: "Como got some good little jobs.

It was a good first year."

n Contractor Birse announced a return to the black in its interim results, after a poor performance in the same period last year.

Pre-tax profit was just short of £1.8m in the six months to 31 October. Last year it made a pre-tax loss of more than £3.8m because of a £5.5m loss on the Leicester City football stadium contract.

Leicester City FC went into administration after the collapse of ITV Digital, which led the broadcaster to terminate its contracts.