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Babcock International said the volume of engineering contracts it was bidding for had risen more than a third during the past two months, a result of a surge in interest in the UK in activities such as decommissioning nuclear power stations and maintaining ships for the Royal Navy.
The engineering services group said its “bid pipeline”, which stood at £9.5bn in May, was now £13bn. “Of course we won’t win all these contracts but over the past 18 months we have won about 50 per cent of all the contracts for which we have submitted bids,” said Peter Rogers, chief executive.
Babcock employs 27,000 people – 30 per cent of them engineers or having high-level technical qualifications – who work on a variety of engineering-related service jobs, some of which involve a large element of manufacturing.
For instance, in one of the UK’s biggest production projects for years, the group has a contract to assemble the UK’s two massive aircraft carriers being put together for the Ministry of Defence from components shipped to a large Babcock yard in Rosyth, near Edinburgh.
Mr Rogers said he had high hopes of winning more orders in the challenging job of decommissioning some of the UK’s old nuclear reactors, which need to be taken out of service in the next few years, as well as working on programmes connected with the building of new nuclear stations.
Of the company’s revenues of £3bn last year, about 85 per cent came from the UK. Last year’s pre-tax profits came to £274m, a figure that analysts expect to rise to about £310m this year.