Thomas Vale brand to remain with new French owner helping 143-year old contractor to win more complex work
Contractor Thomas Vale’s new owner, French giant Bouygues, will leverage its financial might to win the firm larger, more complex public-private partnership jobs, the firm’s chairman has said.
Speaking to Building following Bouygues’ takeover of midlands contractor Thomas Vale this week, Madani Sow, Bouygues UK chairman, said the technical expertise from across the group would be used to bolster Thomas Vale’s offer in complex projects such as hospitals.
He said the firm would also benefit from the efficiencies of a global supply chain. “Our balance sheet will provide access to bigger project like PPP schemes which Thomas Vale couldn’t access,” he said.
Sow said the Thomas Vale brand, which has been in existence for 143 years, would be kept as would its current logo.
“We are not bringing in people to take over, the people that are in the business are remaining,” he said.
Because he expected the firm to now be able to bid and win bigger contracts he did not anticipate any job losses.
However, he said Thomas Vale would not be allowed to compete in the geographical areas where contractors Leadbitter and Warings, other acquisitions by Bouygues in 2011 and 2007 respectively, currently operate.
“Sometimes, when there’s a big project in one business entity and it is lacking people or crosses areas, I would like to see joint ventures between the two businesses,” Sow added.
Sow said that Thomas Vale’s current net margin of 1% would reduce the group’s net margin from its current 3%.
He predicted Thomas Vale would not reach a margin of 3% until at least 2015 adding that he expected growth this year and in 2013 to be flat.
He praised the quality control at the firm saying that he expected to be able to apply procedures, such as Thomas Vale’s daily site visits to identify potential snags in delivery for which senior managers were accountable, to other parts of the Bouygues business.
Sow said the French firm currently had £600m in cash and would not rule out the possibility of further UK acquisitions by the French giant, but he said there were currently no opportunities that were of interest.
“Maybe in six months time or a year something will change,” he added.
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