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Public work spread evenly, survey shows

FINANCE: Private contractors are winning as much publicly funded work as top quoted firms

THE TOP privately owned contractors are neck-and-neck with their quoted rivals in the chase for publicly funded work, according to an exclusive survey for Construction News.

An Emap Glenigan study of the number of contracts won in the 12 months to April 2002 shows that, on average, 37 per cent of the top private contractors' workload is publicly funded against 36 per cent for the top quoted firms.

Listed contractors are being urged by the City to bag more government-funded work as the Labour government increases its outlay on housing, schools and education.

Stephen Williams, construction analyst at broker Williams De Broe, said: 'At the moment the market quite likes the idea of public work because it's free of the vagaries of the construction cycle.

'Also there is a much better quality of earnings.'

The most successful quoted contractors in the public sector, which includes PFI work, are MJ Gleeson and John Mowlem with 46 per cent of the contracts won by the pair funded from the public purse.

An upturn in the number of publicly funded housing maintenance contracts is boosting the workloads of some smaller private contractors.

More than 60 per cent of the work won by Mansell, Geoffrey Osborne and Willmott Dixon, was publicly funded.

steve. menary@construct. emap. com