Chief executive John Gains said the company had spent £14m on buyouts in 1998 and was looking to up the tempo in 1999.
He said: "We did not find enough suitable opportunities in 1998. We still have the resources to do much more and make significant acquisitions when the right opportunities arise." Mowlem's turnover grew 7% to £1.49bn in 1998. Construction activities and services made up most of this, contributing £1.04bn to turnover and £12m to operating profit.
Mowlem's Aqumen facilities services division struggled during the year, with turnover falling from £141.8m in 1997 to £130m in 1998.
Gains said this was primarily because of a drop-off in Ministry of Defence work, and that new management was expected to improve prospects this year.