Chief claims firm’s perseverance is reputational boon

Multi-disciplinary consultant McBains Cooper is predicting growth in one of the world’s most unlikely markets - Greece.

McBains Cooper set up its Athens office in January 2009, just as the bottom was falling out of the Greek market due to the financial crisis.

But the firm’s chief executive Michael Thirkettle said the “counter-cyclical” move was deliberate and could pay off sometime next year.

McBains Cooper’s Athens office was set up with former staff from Bovis Lend Lease, after the contractor departed the market after its main client, oil giant BP, also pulled out of Greece.

The consultant is now working on the same oil projects under a new client - state-owned ELPA - and has worked on other public projects.

Thirkettle said: “At the moment we have six people there and we’re not making anything but not losing anything either.

“I see growth for the business in the middle of next year. [In the wider Greek economy] in three years’ time we will see stability and the ability to invest.”

He added that the firm was bidding for a “number of PPP projects” in Greece.

He said the firm’s decision to stick it out in the country despite its difficulties while other UK firms departed the market had given it a “great reputation” among Greek clients.