Sisk wins major UK housing contract

Building group Sisk has won the contract for the first phase of a €144 million housing construction project in Clapham in south London.

The UK capital’s oldest housing association, Peabody, announced that it has awarded the contract for the first phase of the redevelopment of an estate at St John’s Hill, Clapham Junction, London, to John Sisk & Son, part of the Irish construction group.

The St John’s Hill project will be completed over three phases between this year and 2020, and the project has a total value of £120 million (€144m). It will involve the construction of 528 new homes, 279 affordable properties and 249 for private sale, as well as some commercial space.

Sisk will begin work on the first stage in the spring, and is due to finish in the summer of 2016. Neither side has given a breakdown of the value of the contracts for each phase of the project.

Britain is increasingly important for Sisk, and was responsible for 48 per cent of its €824 million turnover in 2012, making it the Irish group’s single biggest market that year.

Last year Liam Nagle, chief executive of Sisk’s parent Sicon, said that its turnover there had grown again, reaching £400 million sterling (€480m) in 2013, up from £150 million three years earlier.

In Britain its main focus is on energy, civil engineering and large-scale projects such as the St John’s Hill contract.

Along with Spanish giant Dragados, it is a partner on a joint venture hired to construct 12km of tunnels for the eastern sections of London’s Crossrail network, one of Europe’s biggest infrastructure developments.

It was also one of the main contractors on Britain’s biggest waste-to-energy plants in Runcorn, Cheshire, in the north of England for client Keppel Seghers, part of the Singapore-based infrastructure specialist Keppel Corporation.

The group made its first move into the British market in 1984, but stepped up its activity there over the last five to 10 years as part a diversification strategy it began during the Irish building boom.

Sisk now has operations in Ireland, Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

In 2011 a joint venture in which the group was a 50 per cent shareholder was forced to pull out of a number of road-building projects in Poland, leaving it with once-off losses of €97 million.

The group recovered to record a €14 million profit in 2012.

Members of the Sisk family, which controls its parent, subscribed for new shares during that year, raising €15 million in fresh equity.

Its client on the Clapham project, Peabody, is the oldest organisation of its kind in London. US banker George Peabody established the housing association in 1862 to provide homes for the city’s poor.

The organisation works exclusively in London. Last year it invested £63 million in new homes, including the purchase of sites for future building. Source: The Irish Times.