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City dream fails to come true for Canary Wharf

NEWS - West End and City of London jobs have not materialised for contractor that built Docklands icon

THE DECLINE of Canary Wharf Contractors as a major builder continues after the amount of work it carried out last year collapsed.

The company that built most of Canary Wharf had promised to branch out of its London Docklands heartland in a bid to reverse a slide in workload.

This has seen sales crumble since it posted a turnover of £948 million in 2002.

Building work at Canary Wharf has dried up in recent years while the City of London has undergone an upturn, with a host of new build and refurbishment work taking place after a period in the doldrums.

But CWC's plan to target work in the City and the West End has not produced results and in the year to December 31 turnover stood at just over £30 million.

Firms such as InteriorExterior, Mace, Bovis Lend Lease and Laing O'Rourke dominate the tender lists CWC had hoped to be on.

Pre-tax profits at the firm for 2005 stood at just over £174,000 while the number of employees dropped to 103.

The figures are contained in CWC's report and accounts filed at Companies House, the first since it changed its yearend accounting date from June to December. One rival said he was not surprised by the falls, which have happened after dozens of CWC staff were lured away to join established names such as Mace and InteriorExterior.

He added: 'They're not even winning work in their heartland any more. They do occupier fit-out and that's about it. I really don't know what's going on with them. They sat back on their laurels but then people started to leave.

'I don't think they've got the recognised people and all the processes set up like the rest of us.'

Another added: 'They tend to man up when there's work around. In essence Canary Wharf is a developer first and construction is a means to an end. I guess they haven't been able to win work in the City because Canary Wharf is a rival location.'

Despite the problems, the 103 remaining directors and staff were well rewarded. The average salary last year came in at £96,500.

CWC declined to comment.