Opinion: French firms aim for UK conquest

Aaron Morby 11 years ago
Share

France’s big two contractors have their sights set on expansion in the UK this year.

Both Bouygues and Vinci are stepping up their game at a time when the building sector is contracting fast and firms are looking for quality rather than volume orders.

Vinci has grown particularly aggressive in its bidding and now boasts a tender hit rate of one in three jobs.

This year the firm expects to deliver 11% growth in turnover  as a raft of big jobs come through the pipeline.

In such a competitive construction market this is no mean feat and is a warning to all those battling for decent margins in the £10m-plus building market.

Bouygues’ move to buy independent Midlands builder Thomas Vale yesterday is also a concern for mainstream rivals.

Given Bouygues standing in world construction, its presence in the UK has been relatively understated until now. Despite bidding for several major projects in recent years it has failed to secure the high profile work it expected.

But Bouygues has been quietly building up its presence at a local level, buying solid regional firms like Leadbitter.

It now boasts serious capability here and is set to use its muscle to become a significant force.

There is a strong sense of deja vu about all this.

More than a decade ago the UK building materials industry looked robust, with world leading brands like Redland, RMC and Pilkington appearing untouchable.

Now the industry is dominated by French giants Lafarge and St Gobain, and the home spun building materials companies have all but vanished.

France’s two leading contractors appear to have similar ambitions.

The nuclear power station building programme, led by French power client EDF, is a big draw and both firms are known to be eyeing the opportunities keenly.

Their growth is more by stealth than swashbuckling corporate takeover, but the end result could still be the same.

Latest news

RG Group wins £82m Leeds build to rent job

Work to start on developer Hub's 488-flat Latitude Blue scheme
7 hours ago

Speedy kit count finds £20m of missing equipment

Hire giant launches review after shortfall of small equipment
12 hours ago

Administrators appointed at concrete flooring specialist

Malin Industrial Concrete Floors has worked with a host of major contractors
1 day ago

Barratt sees early signs of a New Year trading uplift

Britain's biggest house builder reports strong first half but warns it is still too early to call depth of 2023 downturn
12 hours ago

Balfour launches new guide for inclusive behaviour

Right to Respect inclusivity initiative shows "where the boundaries are"
22 hours ago

Concrete specialist Byrne Bros names new boss

Forty-year-old project director Philip Beausang promoted
12 hours ago

World’s first net zero cement production trial starts

Process combines scrap steel recycling in a the furnace with cement production
12 hours ago

VINCI to build new £100m Blackpool office scheme

Contractor to build new seven-storey regional hub for civil servants
1 day ago

Shapps to lead new Net Zero Government department

Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to split into three new Government departments
1 day ago

M&E firms readied for £545m Pagabo deal

New framework to meet demand for smarter buildings, particularly in healthcare and education
2 days ago

Mivan bags £100m haul of hotel and resi fit-out jobs

London hotel and prime residential orders put firm on track for £75m revenue this year
2 days ago

Graham hospital site hut complex destroyed by blaze

Site offices ravaged by fire which took eight hours to get under control
2 days ago

Mace wins £150m over-station job at Liverpool Street

Latest win from Aviva Investors and Allianz Real Estate following earlier Moorgate contract
2 days ago

Turner & Townsend and alinea join forces

110 alinea staff join T&T cost management team
2 days ago

Developer confidence high in big regional cities

Crane survey reveals Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester can count on resilient development pipelines
1 day ago

Caddick wins £21m Oldham off gas housing scheme

West Vale housing job forms part of £160m plan for 1,100 homes in Oldham
2 days ago

Buyers see brighter days ahead despite resi slump

"Construction can see a path through for better outcomes in 2023"
2 days ago

Australian firm to buy £300m gigaplant backer Britishvolt

New owner vows to complete giant factory in Northumberland
3 days ago

Project delays curb Ardmore growth ambitions

Refurb and housing specialist sees profit fall after challenging year of delays and supply chain failures
3 days ago

Scaffolders and sparks strike at antibiotic plant

Engineering construction workers down tools in bonus pay row
2 days ago

McAlpine bags £1bn Sellafield concrete structures deal

Contractor signs 17-year concrete structures and groundworks framework
3 days ago

Moving in to new markets paying off for McLaren

Contractor carving out new niche as leading player in heavy refurbs
5 days ago

Heavy materials sales fall amid slowdown in starts

Light side product sales grow helped by pace of activity for refurbs and energy-efficient retrofits
2 days ago

Plan to add retentions record to payment reporting law

Government consults on tougher reporting to include disputed invoices and retention policies
5 days ago

Morgan Sindall wins £88m Beckton DLR depot upgrade

Delayed work to start on Docklands Light Railway train maintenance depot in East London
5 days ago

Hare and Severfield win £250m Sellafield deal

Country's two biggest steelwork contractors secure 17-year framework
6 days ago

Max Steward returns to head up ISG’s Agility fit-out arm

Former ISG project director returns after three years to take up MD role
6 days ago

McLaren wins massive Portland House refurb

Construction to start this year on £380m revamp of 28-storey building in central London
6 days ago

Green light for £275m HS2 Midlands nerve centre

Trio of contractors battling it out to win huge new depot near Birmingham
6 days ago

Winners named for Government £10bn offsite framework

29 firms secure places on mega framework for schools, healthcare, defence and justice jobs
7 days ago

Contractor services