Sisk tipped to win €50m contract in Britain

Irish group’s subsidiary reported to be in pole position to build student blocks

Sisk looks poised for further growth in Britain. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sisk looks poised for further growth in Britain. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Building group Sisk looks poised for further growth in Britain after being tipped to win a €50 million contract to build a series of student accommodation blocks in Birmingham – ahead of a number of bigger rivals.

Planners recently gave permission to Alumno Developments for a student accommodation scheme in Birmingham known as the City Locks.

Designed by Glenn Howells Architects, it will provide 625 bedrooms and will cost about £40 million (€50 million) to build.

Local sources say the Irish group’s British subsidiary, John Sisk, is best placed to win the job ahead of larger rivals such as Kier, Morgan Sindall, and McAleer & Rushe.

A spokesman for Sisk said at the weekend that it would not comment on the reports.

 

Enabling works

 

nabling works A decision on the contractor is expected shortly as enabling works are due to begin on the Birmingham site in November and the scheme is due to be completed in 2016.

The project has a particularly high profile in Birmingham. The site is in the centre of the British midlands city and is part of an overall regeneration plan for a canalside area knows as Eastside Locks, which received outline planning permission six years ago.

If Sisk were to win the contract it would be the latest in a number of projects to be awarded to the Irish group in Britain, which is now its largest market.

Last week the group confirmed it had secured a number of energy, civil engineering and large-value contracts.

It is also involved in a joint venture building a section of London’s Crossrail development, one of Europe’s biggest infrastructure projects. More recently, it emerged Sisk had won a €20 million contract to build a lab for the Pirbright Institute for research into animal diseases.

Earlier this year the firm was awarded a €24.5 million housing development in Clapham in London.

 

Operating profits

 

At the end of last month

Sisk’s parent, Sicon Ltd, reported that operating profits more than trebled in 2013 to €7.9 million from €2.5 million in the final 11 months of the previous year.

Shareholders’ funds remained unchanged at €50.3 million. At the same time it cut its debts, made up of bank loans and overdrafts, to €15.1 million from €20.8 million.

Sales for the 12 months of 2013 were €774.4 million, about 9 per cent down on the €852 million recorded during the 11-month period in 2012.

The group also said that trading in the Republic, the construction industry of which began emerging from a severe recession in the final quarter of 2013, was generally positive. It added that it had strong order book for this year and a good line of sight into 2015.