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Steady December performance defies typical festive slowdown

Leading contractors defied the traditional Christmas lull in activity to post a relatively steady performance in December.

The value of total wins across Glenigan’s monthly league table of the top 50 firms stood at £2.46bn – a dip of just 6.6 per cent from the £2.64bn posted the previous month.

 Top 10 Contractors – December 2015
  Click here for the full top 50  
Rank Contractor  No Total (£m)
1 Carillion 4 308.0
2 Morgan Sindall 17 200.0
3 Sir Robert McAlpine 2 160.0
4 Mears 1 130.0
5 Kier 14 124.8
6 Farrans 2 110.4
7 Wates 25 104.4
8 Bowmer & Kirkland 9 91.8
9 Skanska 4 83.7
10 Royal Bam 6 63.5

This slight decline followed a sharp fall in November, when combined wins plummeted 32.9 per cent compared with October’s £3.93bn. Nevertheless, December’s £2.46bn marked a huge improvement on the previous Christmas, when the monthly league amounted to just £982.1m.

Carillion topped the monthly contractor table for December after reaching financial close on the £430m Midland Metropolitan Hospital.

The landmark project, which is being funded through the government’s private finance 2 initiative, has a capital cost of £297m and is scheduled to begin on site later this year.

The hospital deal helped Carillion record £308m of contract awards in December across four different projects, according to Glenigan.

Morgan Sindall was a distant second for the month after the company bagged 17 contracts worth £200m in total – a marked improvement on its 14th place in November’s table.

Sir Robert McAlpine secured third thanks to a £150m contract for a major transport interchange in the centre of Cardiff. The 450,000 sq ft development will incorporate a new bus station and link to nearby Cardiff Central.

Mears was fourth in December’s monthly table after it was named as contractor on a £130m regeneration scheme for Milton Keynes Borough Council.

In terms of volume, seventh-placed Wates was the stand-out firm over the month, registering 25 contracts worth a total of £104.4m.

The total number of deals secured by the top 50 firms in December stood at 193, up marginally on the 190 recorded in November. This produced an average contract value for the period of £12.8m, down from £13.9m the previous month and £16.7m in October.

 Top 10 Clients – December 2015  Top 10 Clients – 12 months to Dec 2015
  Click here for the full top 50     Click here for the full top 50
Rank Client No Total (£m)   Client No Total (£m)
1 Department of Health 13 308.2   Department for Transport 36 3,641.4
2 Network Rail 9 211.8   Kemble Water 9 1,992.5
3 Department for Education 16 175.8   Department of Health 245 1,751.8
4 Milton Keynes BC 1 130.0   Department for Education 157 1,511.2
5 Affinity Sutton 2 90.2   Network Rail 59 1,510.8
6 United Utilities  3 87.2   Greater London Authority 17 1,151.6
7 Partners 1 70.0   Welsh Government 21 958.2
8 States of Jersey 2 61.9   United Utilities 12 516.7
9 LB of Barnet 6 51.1   Dept. Regional Development 10 452.2
10 Family Mosaic 1 48.0   Ministry of Defence 29 343.8

Usual suspect the Department of Health took a predictable first place in December’s client league following financial close being reached on the Midland Metropolitan Hospital.  

Network Rail’s awards included its involvement in Sir Robert McAlpine’s Cardiff Central project – the rail operator has now featured in the podium positions for three consecutive months. The Department for Education meanwhile was by far the busiest client in December, with 16 deals handed out.

In the annual league, the Department for Transport extended its lead at the top of the annual clients table, its 12-month haul increasing by 7.6 per cent to stand at £3.64bn.  

The Department of Health remained third but its strong December saw it close the gap to second, with Network Rail also gaining ground on the Department for Education in fourth. The only other change in the top 10 saw United Utilities leapfrog the Department for Regional Development into eighth place, with the MoD losing ground in 10th.

In the annual contractor league, Kier and Bouygues maintained their grip on first and second respectively for the fourth consecutive 12-month period, though Bouygues did close the gap to first.

 Top 10 Contractors – 12 months to Dec 2015
  Click here for the full top 50  
Rank Contractor No Total (£m)
1 Kier 258 2,735.9
2 Bouygues UK 50 2,429.4
3 Laing O’Rourke 31 2,214.7
4 Galliford Try 165 2,087.2
5 Vinci 60 1,991.2
6 Balfour Beatty 69 1,908.4
7 Morgan Sindall 218 1,815.5
8 Skanska 28 1,764.1
9 Carillion 53 1,684.7
10 Royal Bam 85 1,430.5

Laing O’Rourke climbed back above Galliford Try to take third, continuing its resurgence up the annual table.

But it was Vinci that recorded the most eye-catching improvement in the 12-month league, returning to fifth having previously dropped to eighth. This revival pushed previous chart-topper Balfour Beatty down one place to sixth, following on from its fall from third in the previous period.

Further down the league, Carillion overtook Bam into ninth position, while Ferrovial climbed an impressive eight places up to 28th.

The relatively steady performance in December helped the combined value of the 12-month contractor league hit £39.08bn – up 4.9 per cent compared with the year to November. Moreover, the value of the latest annual table was up 47.6 per cent compared with the year to December 2014, reflecting a strong 2015 for contract awards.

 Top 10 Engineering Consultants – Dec 2015
  Click here for the full top 20  
Rank Engineering Consultant No Total (£m)
1 Curtins 7 81.3
2 Couch Perry & Wilkes 4 71.7
3 AKT II 1 70.0
4 Hilson Moran 1 70.0
5 Atkins 5 52.5
6 Pell Frischmann 1 50.0
7 MLM 2 49.0
8 Tully De’Ath 1 48.0
9 Max Fordham 2 43.2
10 Capita 5 42.6

Curtins went from 10th in November to first in December in what was an exceptionally quiet month for consultants. Couch Perry & Wilkes and AKTII were both re-entries, while previous chart-topper WSP fell to 11th.

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