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UK buys bring huge boost for Volker Wessel's local workload

FINANCE

VOLKER Wessels' UK shopping spree has helped the Dutch giant virtually triple its workload in this country over the past three years.

Last year, VW turned over £420 million in the UK, up from £320 million in 2004 and £157 million in 2003.

VW's biggest acquisition was 2004's buyout of Fitzpatrick, which suffered from 'disappointing results on some major projects' in 2005 but still met VW's expectations.

In 2005, VW bought Laser, a £65 million turnover contractor from Worcester, and £14 million turnover road maintenance outfit Gabriel.

VW merged Gabriel with Maidstone outfit John Crowley to form a single maintenance arm but over-ambitious targets dogged both businesses.

North-east based marine contracting arm Volker Stevin lost money in 2004 but recovered to post a prof it in 2005.

VW does not disclose UK profits but lost £20 million on contracting outside Holland after a poor performance in Germany, which the UK has over taken as its second largest non-Dutch operation.