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Ferrovial drags Amey back from brink

CONTRACTS LEAGUE Spanish giant rockets up monthly table after bagging PFI road job Civils helps Balfour keep 12-month top spot

YEARS after vanishing from the contracts league top 50, Amey has motored from nowhere and back into second spot after sealing a £2.2 billion Private Finance Initiative roads deal with Birmingham City Council.

Since disappearing from the top flight, Amey has been saved from near-death by Spanish titan Ferrovial and it is under that name that Amey tops the October monthly table.

On any other month, a £635 million haul would have been enough to seal top spot for Balfour Beatty but the UK's biggest contracting outfit had to settle for second place in October.

Ferrovial races into second spot in the annual table ahead of the UK arm of Swedish giant Skanska but the Spanish firm has not won the three or more jobs necessary to feature in the civils top 10.

This table demonstrates how spending on infrastructure, mainly from the Government or dictated by state controls, is buoying the order books of the big contractors.

More than half of Balfour Beatty's annual total comes from civils work and even 10th-placed Laing O'Rourke has £117 million-worth of work from this sector, which would guarantee a slot in the main annual top 50.

The other sectors to provide such a fillip are commercial and education, where all the top 10 firms have won £100 million-worth of work or more.

The boom in civils work looks likely to continue, according to Emap Glenigan's data, which shows that £1 billion-worth of infrastructure work was up for grabs in October alone.

This suggests concerns over electricity and gas prices voiced recently by the Construction Products Association have yet to hit home, although the civils activity did ease back in September according to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply.

Rising costs may yet rein in buoyant education spending, while health work does not appear to be enriching as wide a range of contractors but civils spending is being lifted by power work from private clients.

This sort of project has lifted Danish wind farm outfit Vestas into the civils top 10, while Balfour was buoyed in October by a £550 million overhead line job with National Grid. State controls on clients in this area are likely to ensure more spending.