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Laing O'Rourke to expand into property development

LAING O'Rourke is planning to move into property development and Construction News understands a new division will go live in the next few weeks.

The move fits in with the firm's one-stop strategy, which has seen its recent acquisitions of M&E firm Crown House and piling contractor Expanded.

One source said: 'They will buy the land and redevelop it.

In that way they can be sure they have more control over their own destiny. They will be sure of doing the work and in that way it removes some of the competition.' News of the move comes as O'Rourke's group business leader in London and the south-east is leaving to set up his own development arm.

Steve Hollingshead, who has been at the company for over 10 years, is due to go next month and is cashing in his stake at the firm, which is expected to net him around £4 million.

Hugh Walters, who currently heads up O'Rourke's Expanded division ? which includes piling and demolition ? has been lined up as Mr Hollingshead's replacement.