Business roundup

CBI Deputy Director-General Katja Hall called on all the political parties to support the Davies Commission’s final recommendation wherever it suggests a new runway for the south east should be sited when it reports in the summer. “Growing airport capacity in the South East is critical to the UK's economic future, so we simply cannot afford to kick the can yet further down the road on aviation. A single hub airport with spare capacity to grow is the best way to open doors to new trade, and create new routes to emerging markets that will boost our economy,” she said.

Capita has bought 40 strong Leeds and London based BCS Design for an an undisclosed sum. BCS provides a wide range of civil, structural, geotechnical engineering and surveying services in markets including rail, highways, industrial and utilities.

The consumption of structural steelwork in the UK is expected to increase 9% to 895,000 tonnes in 2015 according to a recent survey by Construction Markets. This increase in demand comes off the back of a 6% rise in 2014, reflecting the ongoing recovery in the construction sector. Growth is forecast to continue in subsequent years, with structural steel consumption estimated to reach 972,000 tonnes in 2018 (the end of the forecast period). 

The CBI has upgraded its growth prediction for 2015 in its latest economic forecast to 2.7% from 2.5% against a backdrop of lower oil prices and inflation. Expectation that interest rates will not go up until next year means it expects growth of 2.6% in 2016. But it warns that political volatility, both domestic and foreign, as the UK general election approaches, Greece’s fiscal position remains in the spotlight and instability continues in Ukraine means exporters are finding it harder to secure orders and net trade is unlikely to provide much of a boost to growth over the next two years.

Capita’s property and infrastructure business has signed a five-year collaboration agreement with Spanish transport engineering and consultancy company Ineco. The new collaboration agreement expands upon Capita and Ineco’s existing joint venture, formed in 2011, to undertake work on the UK High Speed 2 project, Lot 1 Civils Country North Section. The new collaboration agreement formalises both organisations’ commitment to proactively work together on opportunities relating to all UK rail infrastructure projects.

Funding of £1bn for a new London business district in the Royal Docks to rival the City and Canary Wharf has been announced by China’s larges private investment fund China Minsheng. Work is due to start this year on 3.2M sq ft of work, retail and leisure space. 

Kier said at the announcement of its six month results that it is still in talks with consultant Mouchel over a possible takeover but “there can be no certainty that an acquisition of Mouchel will be completed”. Discussions first came to light in December. Kier’s six month results to December 2014 showed revenue up 10% to £1.6bn with pretax profit down from £36.8M to £35.9M. Read Kier and Mouchel – an understandable attraction 

Balfour Beatty has agreed with the company’s pension fund trustees to delay an £85M payment into the scheme which it had agreed to do when it sold Parsons Brinckerhoff last year. The new arrangement allows it to pay the money into the pension fund over eight years, with the first payment of £4M going in next year. In the interim, the pension fund will participate in a Scottish Limited Partnership into which Balfour will transfer PFI assets worth £85m. The deal is the latest move in new CEO Leo Quinn’s recovery plan for the business

Construction consultant Sweett Group has appointed former Atkins director Douglas McCormick as its new chief executive officer. John Dodds, who has been standing in as CEO since the departure of Dean Webster in October will revert to being non executive chairman. McCormick has more than 30 years' experience in the construction industry and was until recently group managing director for rail at Atkins (UK), responsible for £200M of revenue and more than 1700 staff across the UK, India and China.