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Top 20 contractors' payment waits revealed

The industry’s biggest contractors take an average of 47 days to pay invoices, according to payment practice reports submitted to the government under new rules.

Of the 20 biggest contractors ranked by turnover as of last year’s CN100, 19 have so far filed their payment data.

Engie Regeneration (formerly Keepmoat Regeneration) took the longest to pay at 61 days of the top-20, according to the figures submitted to the government.

However, the firm paid 99 per cent of its invoices within the agreed terms, which was the best of any top-20 firm.

The data showed Willmott Dixon to be the promptest payer among the top 20, taking an average of 33 days to pay invoices and 92 per cent within agreed terms.

Build UK released payment information overnight on its members which showed that Murphy Group was the worst-performing, taking an average of 66 days to pay.

The payment data submitted to government revealed that the largest 20 contractors failed to pay 38 per cent of invoices within the timeframe agreed in the contract terms, on average.

In the case of firms working for Interserve, 83 per cent of invoices were not paid to the agreed terms – the highest of the top 20.

All UK companies with turnover greater than £36m and 250 employees or more are now required to submit information on their payment practices covering a six-month period.

This data must be re-submitted every six months and is publicly available through a government website.

Laing O’Rourke must file its first report by 30 October.

ContractorAverage days to payInvoices not paid to termsMaximum standard contractPrompt Payment Code signatoryOffers supply chain finance
Balfour Beatty 54 54% 60 Yes Yes
Kier 59 45% 95 Yes Yes
Interserve 50 83% 91 No No
Morgan Sindall 44 24% 75 Yes No
Galliford Try 47 26% 91 No No
Laing O’Rourke First report due 30 October    
Amey 34 39% 60 No Yes
Mace 45 43% 60 Yes No
Bouygues UK 40 31% 45 Yes No
Costain 59 67%  60  Yes  No 
Wates 44 62% 60 Yes No
Skanska UK 41 11% 30 Yes No
ISG 42 48% 60 Yes No
Willmott Dixon 33 8% 60 Yes Yes
Engie Regeneration 61 1% 90 No No
Bam Construct 43 34% 60 Yes No
Multiplex 43 47% 42 No No
Vinci 52 36% 42 No No
Mears 58 15% 60 No No
Bowmer and Kirkland 41 51% 92 No No
Average 47 38% 65    

Contractors are asked to report their standard payment terms, but in most cases this varies between suppliers and subcontractors and in some cases from project to project.

However, firms do report the maximum standard contract that their suppliers are signed up to, with the average longest deal being 65 days.

Of the 19 top-20 contractors that have reported so far, Kier offered the longest contract terms at 95 days, but on average pays in 59 days.

Ten of the 19 to report so far are signatories to the government’s Prompt Payment Code, which stipulates that they must look to pay suppliers within 60 days and work towards paying them in 30 days as standard.

According to the data submitted, none of the PPC signatories break the 60-day limit, on average. However, none of them pay within 30 days.

Of the CN100 top-20 firms that have submitted their data, six take 50 days or more on average to pay their subcontractors.

They are Balfour Beatty, Engie Regeneration, Interserve, Kier, Mears and Vinci.

Build UK published the data submitted by its members to the government portal on its own website.

This included Sir Robert McAlpine, which took an average of 49 days to pay. However, 70 per cent of its invoices were not paid within agreed terms, second only to Interserve.

In instances where companies have submitted data for multiple businesses, the data for the largest construction business has been used.

*This article was amended following submission of data from Costain and Amey on 31 July

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