12 Jun 2012

Opus wins multi-million dollar UK contract

7:42 am on 12 June 2012

Opus International Consultants plans to employ an extra 100 staff in the UK after winning a multi-million dollar road management contract with a local council.

Together with joint venture partner Arup, Opus will develop and manage technical programmes for the Hertfordshire County Council highway network.

The contract, which is yet to be finalised, is for seven years but could be extended by another five.

Opus says it will need to hire another 100 staff in its UK team.

The company does not say how much the deal is worth, but Hertfordshire County Council documents put the value of the contract at between £6 million and £9 million a year.

Opus's UK operations lost $1.2 million last year as the global recession and tough government austerity measures made trading conditions particularly tough.

Opus managing director David Prentice says austerity measures drive a greater interest in asset management, and describes the contract as a good win for the company.

"It is well known that we've had challenges in that market over the last few years, so what this means is immediately we need to increase our team by about a hundred people.

"But the fact of the matter is, it's a seven year contract with a five year extension period, so obviously it's quite significant to our operations over there."

Another benefit of the contract, he says, is a significant increase in the company's profile in the UK.

Mr Prentice says the contract is still subject to a 10-day challenge period but he doesn't expect any problems in getting it finalised.

The firm makes the bulk of its earnings in Australasia and has operations in Canada.