Costain looks to oil to fuel rapid growth

ENGINEER Costain said yesterday it was on course to double its profits with its oil services operations set to expand.

The company reported a 38 per cent rise in full year adjusted operating profit for 2011 to £24.1m.

Finance director Tony Bickerstaff told City A.M. the company was buoyant in the UK due to a string of recent contract wins, and that it was also targeting more work with oil companies.

“We work with a lot of big oil companies and want to do more particularly in upstream (recovery of oil).”

He added that its winning of high profile contracts in the UK, including the London Bridge redevelopment, were testament to its success in targeting blue chip customers.

Costain, which has won contracts such as London Bridge’s £400m redevelopment, reported that its year-end order book edged up to £2.5bn compared to £2.4bn in 2010.

Costain is debt free and had £140m in cash at the end of last year. It said its support services activities now represent 25 per cent of work secured for 2012. The group recommended an eight per cent dividend hike – the fifth consecutive year that there has been a rise. Bickerstaff added: “We are in good shape. We are employing more people and will look at acquisition opportunities as they arise.”