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Laing O’Rourke hires NuGen nuclear director as £1bn Hinkley battle hots up

Laing O’Rourke hires nuclear power consultant and ex Scottishpower construction chief Roger Seshan as the £1bn Hinkley C civils contract battle with Balfour Beatty/Vinci and Costain/McAlpine culminates.

Laing O’Rourke has hired ScottishPower’s former commercial development director who has spent the last year working for Sellafield nuclear power plant joint venture company NuGen, Construction News can reveal.

Roger Seshan has joined Laing O’Rourke as group director for asset optimisation and supply chain.

Mr Seshan joins from NuGen, the nuclear power joint venture launched in November 2010 looking to build the Moorside nuclear power station on land near Sellafield in West Cumbria, where he was strategic planning director for the past year. He has also worked as a consultant to contractors and utilities firms on major nuclear projects.

The appointment comes as a Laing O’Rourke/Bouygues joint ventures battles a Balfour Beatty/Vinci jv and Costain/Sir Robert McAlpine jv for the £1bn civils contract at EDF’s Hinkley Point C.

Mr Seshan was commercial development director at ScottishPower from 2008-11, responsible for thermal development and construction in the UK.

He was there when the government gave the green light to plans for a £500m gas-fired power station in north Kent a year ago.  ScottishPower says the plans will bring 1,000 construction jobs to the area, and 50 permanent posts after it begins operating.

Mr Seshan was also previously commercial director at ScottishPower Renewables, responsible for commercial delivery of ScottishPower’s 1000 megawatt business plan target.

It is the latest in a number of high-level appointments by Laing O’Rourke, which have included bringing in Carillion Canada senior manager and former Middle East chief Nick Down to head up its Middle Eastern team, and making ‘young gun’ Callum Tuckett its head of UK construction.

Laing O’Rourke has also made National Grid non executive director George Rose a non executive director on its board.

The contractor reported a 50 per cent fall in profits in 2010/11 from £50m to £25.9m, with revenue down from £3.5bn to £3.3b. That year also saw employee numbers in Europe – mainly in its Middle East division - slashed by 30 per cent from 16,788 to 11,589.

NuGen is now preparing detailed plans for development of the Cumbria site, and intends to make a final investment decision around 2015.   Any new power station would then be commissioned around 2023.

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