The UK’s biggest contractors just aren’t big enough, it seems. A new report (see p4) recommends that some of them should merge and use their combined strengths to compete internationally with the likes of Bouygues, Vinci and Skanska.
It’s hard to disagree. Balfour Beatty, our largest contractor, is a third the size of Bouygues and even though most of its business is done overseas, on the world stage it’s a minor player.
Of course, bigger isn’t necessarily better: what matters more is a sound business model, good management and a healthy balance-sheet.
But last year we had the Brexit vote and this year we’ve got President Trump with his avowed aim to “put America first”. If the UK wants to be a construction industry world player, it must up its game.