Morgan Sindall executive chairman John Morgan has predicted that other contractors will be on the look-out to buy civil engineering companies this year as they try to cash in on the growing utilities market.
He said: "Utilities is an interesting sector at the moment and it is getting busier. There are likely to be more deals." Morgan Sindall believes the utilities market is worth £2bn.

Morgan made the comments after Morgan Sindall bought Pipeline Constructors for £16.5m last month as part of its strategy to grow the infrastructure services division, Morgan Est. He said the acquisition would put Morgan Est in a good position to take advantage of the move towards integrated outsourcing contracts.

Pipeline Constructors, which has 1000 staff, operates primarily in the water sector but also in the electricity and gas markets.

Utilities is an interesting sector and it is getting busier. There are likely to be more deals

John Morgan, executive chairman, Morgan Sindall

It had a turnover of £75m for the year to 30 September 2001 and a pre-tax profit of £332,690.

Morgan Sindall has bought a number of other engineering companies, including Miller Civil Engineering. However, Morgan rejected the claim – made by some city analysts – that the company had made too many acquisitions recently and needed time to integrate them.