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Carillion finds help in regions

FINANCE Turn to regions supports weak London

CARILLION is weathering the slowdown in London's commercial office building market thanks to a booming regional workload.

A number of big projects in the capital have been put on hold, but the contractor said jobs in the Midlands and north-west were helping it through the downturn. It has already won £350 million of work this year.

Chief executive John McDonough said: 'The market in the south-east is shrinking but the retail sector is very strong, and office work in Liverpool and Manchester is holding up very well.'

Mr McDonough was speaking as the firm recorded a 22 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for 2002 to £42.2 million, with turnover rising 4 per cent to £1.9 billion.

Carillion has ruled out picking up Amey's £60 million stake in Tube Lines, the consortium that has taken over running part of the London Undergound. Carillion was part of the rival Tube Rail team that lost out to Tube Lines, but Mr McDonough said:

'We are happy to be a humble subcontractor.'

The company's PFI bidding costs rose by nearly £2 million to £15.8 million, which it put down to chasing several hospital deals.