Bidding wars force Costain rethink in Middle East

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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Fierce competition from Asian contractors is forcing Costain to switch its focus from construction to consultancy in the Middle East.

The contractor is now looking to expand its consultancy business in the region as low bids from Asian rivals hit construction work.

Tim Bowen, Costain’s Regional Development Director, said: “We’re not looking for construction contracts, even though there has been no shortage of opportunity in that regard.

“Costain has the scale, skills, experience and financial strength necessary to secure and then deliver these large and complex projects, but at this time, the price point competition from some Asian contractors mean that there’s no point wasting our valuable bidding resources when there are many commercially preferable opportunities in professional services.”

The shift comes as rivals including Balfour Beatty and Carillion continue to chase construction work in the Middle east.

Costain is now looking for experienced people to fill senior consultancy roles in the region.

Bowen said: “I’m here in the Gulf to develop the Costain advisory proposition and present our considerable expertise, systems, processes and people to clients here.

“We’re looking to work more on a consultancy basis, either on our own or as part of a joint venture with another company.

“But our biggest constraint is the availability of professionally qualified, experienced people, i.e. those at the most senior level, because these projects are vast and will include working at the cutting edge of engineering technology.

“Costain has a rich history of engineering excellence but we need to reconsider our market positioning and the manner in which we fulfil those opportunities.

“Part of the solution is for us to go to the market, recruit and bring capacity into the business.

“Therefore, in line with our best in class approach, we are looking for senior level sector experts to join me to grow our new business in the region.”

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