Dubai firm to take 15% stake in business under £100m cash raising plan

A Dubai-based contractor will become Costain’s largest shareholder under a £100m share issue, the firm said today.

Costain this morning issued details of the cash raising move which it announced alongside its 2019 annual results in March.

London Bridge_complex delivery 2

Costain’s recent schemes include a £400m overhaul of London Bridge station for Network Rail

ASGC approached the firm in the wake of its announcement eight weeks ago that it was looking to raise the money to shore up its balance sheet.

The HS2 contractor, which has 3,400 staff working across 160 locations, said that under the deal 30-year-old ASGC will sink £25m into the business – giving it a 15% share in the firm.

The stake will mean it will eclipse fund manager JO Hambro, which owns around 10% of the business, as the largest single shareholder.

News of an overseas investor set to hold a significant amount in Costain echoes the firm’s ownership model more than two decades ago when Malaysian firm Intria, Kuwaiti contractor Kharafi and Saudi Arabian-based contractor Raymond International between them held more than 40% of the business in the 1990s.

All three have since sold their stakes and ASGC has no connection to any of them, the firm added.

Set up in 1989, ASCG has worked on Dubai International Airport and several of the pavilions at this year’s Dubai Expo which has been postponed until next year because of the covid-19 pandemic.

ASGC said it saw long-term, structural growth opportunities in UK infrastructure “and that Costain is strongly positioned to take advantage” of them.

Costain chief executive Alex Vaughan said: “We are pleased to have secured significant support from investors for this fundraising. With a stronger balance sheet and the positive long-term outlook for UK infrastructure, Costain will be better placed to benefit from the significant market opportunity in front of us.”

Costain shareholders will be asked to approve the capital raising at a general meeting at its Maidenhead headquarters on 27 May with the results announced the following day.

In its update, the firm said the group would be in danger of breaching existing banking covenants in June if the capital raising failed.

Costain, which has restarted work on its Bond Street Crossrail scheme, has furloughed around 300 staff because of the covid-19 pandemic. It added that 70% of its work had continued during the crisis with those jobs stopped mainly its schemes in London.

The firm slumped to a £6.6m pre-tax loss in 2019 from a £40.2m profit. Revenue was down from £1.5bn to £1.2bn.

During the year, Costain took a £37m hit on a road scheme in south Wales, called the A465 Heads of the Valleys, and a £9.7m cost to fix a roof at the £260m National Synchrotron facility in Oxfordshire which Costain’s building business completed in 2006.