THE contracts were secured across all McConnell Dowell business units in line with the group’s strategic action plan. Supplied
MCCONNELL Dowell, the Australian specialist infrastructure contractor and subsidiary of JSE-listed construction and engineering group Aveng, has secured contracts worth a total of R3.8billion in the first quarter of the group’s financial year.

Eric Diack, the executive chairperson of Aveng, said on Friday that these contract awards provided a good start to the new financial year and increased McConnell Dowell’s order book to R8.7bn, which was 17percent higher than at the end of June this year.

Diack said the contracts were secured across all McConnell Dowell business units and underpinned good progress in the execution of the group’s strategic action plan.

“What I find most gratifying is the continuation and repeat work from McConnell Dowell’s existing customers, which demonstrates that it is building on its previous excellent performance and delivery.

“Equally pleasing is that these new business awards are firmly aligned to McConnell Dowell’s recently revised strategy,” he said. McConnell Dowell and open-pit mining business Moolmans were earlier this year identified as core businesses in Aveng while Grinaker-LTA, manufacturing and steel were deemed non-core.

The identification and disposal of non-core assets was one of the three pillars of Aveng’s strategic review to turn around the group’s performance, with the two other pillars involving the capital restructuring of Aveng and improving the operational performance of its core businesses.

Diack added on Friday that the contract awards secured by McConnell Dowell demonstrated the operating group’s specialist capabilities in marine, pipelines, civil, tunnelling, rail and building, and reflected its improved operational state and diversified market offerings. “With a further potential AUD 1billion (R10.3billion) of work in early client involvement processes, McConnell Dowell is well positioned to continue to secure additional work in the near term,” he said.

Diack said the diversification of McConnell Dowell’s order book highlighted the breadth and depth of expertise across its operational areas, adding the market sectors the company serviced were expected to offer further growth opportunities with the continued roll-out of large and medium-sized projects across its operating footprint.

Included among the contract awards were the upgrading of existing wharf facilities at Webb Dock and Burnie in Australia for Toll Group, which would commence immediately and be completed early next year; a contract award by the Port of Melbourne Corporation for further works to rehabilitate the berth at Swanson Dock; and a contract to remove the Aviation Road level rail crossing in Laverton and construct the Wyndham Vale stabling yard following the successful execution of recent projects for the Victorian state government.

Other projects include a contract awarded by Neste to construct two underpasses for production lines, services lines and facilities at their refinery in Singapore; and the early works package associated with the Clean Fuel Project for Thai Oil in Thailand.

Shares in Aveng closed unchanged at 5c on the JSE on Friday.