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Contracts hit four-year high in January led by Skanska's Battersea deal

The value of total deals across the top 50 contractors hit its highest monthly total for more than four years in January.

Combined wins stood at £4.66bn for the period, up 374 per cent from Christmas-hit December, according to Glenigan.

Top 50 contractors Jan 14-Jan 15

They were also 47.2 per cent higher than in January 2014, when total deals came to £3.17bn.

Driving this performance was Skanska, which secured seven contracts in January worth a combined £860.1m.

However, the month was far from a one-firm show, with six other contractors all exceeding the £200m mark in their January hauls.

Skanska’s topping of the contractor league came after Battersea Power Station Development Company finally signed its £600m deal for phase two of the site’s regeneration.

The contractor was revealed as the preferred bidder in September 2014, though it was not until last month that the client signed off on the agreement.

Skanska will deliver retail space next to the power station’s two turbine halls, as well as commercial office and residential units.

It beat Balfour Beatty, Lend Lease and Mace to win the high-profile project, construction of which is expected to begin in March.

SP Setia & Sime Darby, the companies behind the Battersea Power Station redevelopment, topped the client table having signed off Skanska’s phase two contract.

Taking second was Network Rail, which has been quite in recent months but returned to the limelight with its £400m Waterloo revamp project.

Third-placed Department of Health meanwhile had a particularly busy month, awarding a whopping 34 contracts, with the Department for Education not far behind on 23.

Skanska’s total was also underpinned by its role in a £400m deal for the redevelopment of Waterloo station for Network Rail.

Bouygues’ share of this same project helped it take second spot in January’s table with a £255.1m eight-job haul.

Close behind in third was Wates, which secured 12 deals worth a combined £250.4m over the month.

Among these was a £180m office scheme in Paddington for British Land, which was agreed in November and finally signed last month.

The leading contractors for the month won several other notable deals, including seventh-paced Laing O’Rourke, whose £200m contract to build a new hospital in Dumfries reached financial close.

Network Rail returned to the annual podium places, securing second for the year to January and cutting into the DoH’s huge lead.

The Department for Transport fell from second to fifth, allowing the Department for Education up two spots to fourth.

The Ministry of Defence meanwhile slipped back slightly to sixth, while positions seven through to 10 remained unchanged on the 12 months to December.

Tenth-placed Balfour Beatty and 29th-placed Jones Bros each have a stake in a £65.5m bypass project at Caernarfon for the Welsh Government, while Burmeister & Wain secured 11th thanks to a £160m biomass centre project for joint clients and Mace reached 14th with its high-profile £100m Can of Ham contract for TIAA Henderson Real Estate.

Looking at volume, the number of contracts for the top 50 also shot up in January, hitting 280 – more than double December’s 125 though some way short of January 2014’s 331.

The month’s average contract value stood at £16.7m, just over double December’s £7.9m.

In the annual table, Skanska’s exceptional January total saw it shoot up the standings, taking third spot from Interserve having been 15th in the previous period.

This left Skanska not far behind Kier and Balfour Beatty in first and second, both of whom saw their annual hauls dip slightly compared with the 12 months to December.

Kier’s total fell 2.3 per cent to £1.88bn, while Balfour lost more ground still, falling 6.8 per cent to £1.74bn.

Across the rest of the 12-month league, Morgan Sindall climbed two spots to fourth at the expense of Royal Bam, which slipped a place to fifth.

Mace and Carillion were down four places each to sit ninth and 14th respectively.

The leading engineers had arguably an even stronger January than contractors, with several firms recording exceptional totals.

Mott MacDonald rose from 15th in December to take first, while Buro Happold and Chapman BDSP also shot back up the table.

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