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O'Rourke scores big in subcontinent

LAING O'Rourke is set to land a host of major construction deals in India after forming a joint venture with local developer DLF Universal.

The company, which saw turnover soar past £2 billion in 2005 despite falling profits, will carry out all of DLF's future projects.

DLF is a major client with construction work in 12 cities. The joint venture will be capitalised with an initial £64 million and leaves Laing O'Rourke in line for projects including a major commercial scheme in New Delhi and an IT park in Bangalore.

DLF vice-chairman Rajiv Singh said he hoped the joint venture would have a turnover of £640 million by 2011. He added: 'This joint venture will change the face of const ruct ion in India.' Laing O'Rourke is also planning to f loat a £900 million infrastructure fund in India backed by financial institutions and agencies.

Mr Singh said Indian workers would be trained at Laing O'Rourke's training schools in the UK.

Laing O'Rourke paid £19 million to shareholders of the group, which is controlled by a British Virgin Islands registered company owned by Ray O'Rourke, his brother Des and fellow director Bernard Dempsey. The dividend was on top of £15.4 million in discretionary bonuses to unnamed staff.