Parent company seeking shelter in British energy and commercial markets, says UK boss
Europe’s biggest contractor Vinci is to focus more on winning work in the UK to mitigate against the worsening euro crisis, the firm’s UK boss has revealed.
John Stanion, chief executive of Vinci Construction UK, said divisions of its €33bn-turnover (£26.6bn) French parent company are taking an increasing amount of interest in UK schemes.
He said: “Various operating companies within the Vinci group are looking at opportunities in the UK, mainly in concessions, energy-related projects and commercial property.
“These are not the only French companies looking at the UK. For example, the Banque Nationale de Paris is building a new HQ in King’s Cross. The UK offers a lot of advantages - not being part of the euro is a main one.”
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This move comes as Vinci Construction UK’s special projects division, which has traditionally focused on winning work on UK building frameworks and projects over £100m, looks to become more involved in infrastructure and energy projects, both in the UK and overseas.
Paul Neto, head of the division, confirmed there would also be more interaction between the UK special projects division and the parent company - particularly the French energy business.
He said: “I will be out in France more regularly over the next 12 months talking about how we can work more in energy and how we can engage better with other parts of the Vinci Group.”
Vinci’s energy business, Vinci Energies, turned over €8.7bn in 2011 compared with €7.1bn in 2010. Just over 63% of that revenue came from France. The division also saw profit up from €242m in 2010 to €315m in 2011.
Vinci saw UK pre-tax profit fall 48% from £39m in 2012 to £19.8n for the year to December 31 2011. But the group’s turnover was up 8%. to £1.1bn.