Byline: RICHARD INDER
CONSTRUCTION group Costain is upbeat about its chances of winning contracts for Iraq's postwar reconstruction.
The head of the US aid programme, Andrew Natsios, says these will be open to UK companies, adding that legislation has been waived to allow foreign firms to participate.
This followed irritation that the first u640m worth of business went to US businesses.
Costain praises lobbying by Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt.
Chief executive Stuart Doughty says: 'Hewitt has facilitated a degree of negotiation between US contractors and ourselves.' Doughty - who over the past two years has reversed the crippling losses run up in the late 1990s - said Costain could handle a number of the u800m of early deals to rebuild roads, power plants and water services. It would work as a leader or with US counterparts such as Bechtel.
Annual pretax profits rose sharply from u8.7m to u11.3m helped by more spending on public infrastructure. It has steered clear of bidding for risky fixed-price contracts. …