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Slowdown slashes CWC's workload

Canary Wharf Contractors suffering from London property market decline

THE FIRM that built most of Canary Wharf in London's Docklands is still struggling to reverse the slide in its workload.

Canary Wharf Contractors has been responsible for some of the capital's biggest buildings but has seen its turnover hit in the past two years following a slowdown in the London property market.

In its latest set of accounts, filed at Companies House, turnover for the second half of 2004 stood at just £70 million.

Pre-tax profits struggled to £692,000.

And staff numbers at CWC also continue to fall, with more than 100 leaving in the second half of 2004. The firm, which in June 2003 employed close to 500 people, now has 189 staff on its books ? a drop of more than 60 per cent. CWC declined to comment on the figures.

The accounts, which were filed just over a week ago, have been made available because CWC has changed its year-end accounting date from June to December to bring it into line with its parent Canary Wharf Group's accounting procedures.

Its first full year results, for 2005, are due out in October 2006.

The company published its last set of accounts for the 12 months ending June earlier this year. In the year to June 2004 CWC saw turnover fall nearly £100 million to £265 million. Pre-tax profit fell £700,000 to just over £3 million.

The company admitted that work this year was not expected to pick up significantly and it had decided to target more jobs in the West End and the City to make up for the shortfall.

But it has struggled to make an impact, with tender lists for office jobs still dominated by familiar names such as Sir Robert McAlpine, Laing O'Rourke and Bovis Lend Lease.

n There was some cheer for CWC last week with news that parent Canary Wharf Group has won council planning approval to build the country's second tallest skyscraper.

The 220 m-high tower is part of a threebuilding scheme near the main Canary Wharf complex. London mayor Ken Livingstone and the Government Office for London are due to make a final decision on the North Quay project next month.