John Laing plc


John Laing plc

John Laing plc is a British developer and operator of privately financed, public sector infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, hospitals and schools through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Private Finance Initiative (PFI) arrangements. Prior to being acquired by Henderson Private Equity in December 2006, John Laing plc was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

History

The business can traces it roots back to 1848 when James Laing (born in 1816), along with his wife Ann Graham, and some employees which they had hired, built a house on a plot of land which they had bought for £30 in Cumberland. The £150 proceeds from the first house financed the build of the next two houses on the same plot of land, one of which was kept by the Laing Family to live in. The family and the business later moved near Carlisle.

When James Laing died in 1882, his son, John Laing (born in 1842) took the helm. John began to undertake larger contracts but confined the business to the Carlisle area.

John's son, John William Laing, (born in 1879) was working for the business before he was 20 years old, and so it became John Laing and Son. By 1910, John William Laing was running the business on his own and it was very innovative. More employees were recruited, and larger projects were undertaken, including factory construction.

In 1920 the firm become a limited company and two years later, the headquarters moved from Carlisle to a 13 acre site at Mill Hill in north-west London.

William Kirby Laing and John Maurice Laing, the fifth generation of the founding family, joined in 1950.

John Laing plc was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1952 as John Laing & Sons (Holdings) Ltd. The family and its trusts and charities held the majority of the shares. John William Laing became the chairman, and his sons became joint managing directors. By this time, the number of employees was up to 10,000, and every site had a quality supervisor. John William Laing retired in 1957.

Under William Kirby Laing and James Maurice Laing, the company continued to successfully expand, winning contracts for more power stations and diversifying into road construction while continuing to build houses. In 1985, Martin Laing, of the sixth generation of the founding family, became chairman. That year, the company won contracts totaling almost £27 million.

Martin Laing determined that the company, now Britain's largest construction firm, should begin to diversify. Home construction in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Spain, and California was now one of the major sources of the company's growth.

As the company celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1998, it faced falling profits due to cost overruns with the Millennium project and continued problems within its construction division related to competition and overcapacity.

In 1999, John Laing plc purchased a controlling interest in the Chiltern Rail franchise and by 2002 had transformed itself into two main divisions-homes and investments—it underwent yet another change when Sir Martin Laing retired in early 2002. Bill Forrester took over as executive chairman. For the first time in its history, there was not a member of the founding family at the head of the firm; he remained a non-executive director and the family retained only 5.17% of the shares.

The business expanded rapidly in the late 1990s such that by the year ended 31 December 2001 its turnover was in excess of £1bn. Following significant losses on certain construction contracts [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/the_company_file/487761.stm Stadium losses] ] it decided to concentrate on its successful PPP / PFI activities. Accordingly its construction activities were sold to O'Rourke in 2001, [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1566584.stm Sale to O'Rourke] ] its property developments divisions were sold to Kier Group [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20020719/ai_n12630255 Out-of-fashion Kier shares are just a hold] ] and its house building activities were sold to George Wimpey in 2002. [ [http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article140299.ece Wimpey takes over again as UK's biggest housebuilder] ] The company now has a portfolio of circa 50 PPP/PFI investments.

In December 2006 John Laing plc was acquired by the Private Equity arm of Henderson Group. [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/09/19/bloomberg/bxlaing.php Henderson takeover] ] [ [http://www.building.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=284&storycode=3077276 Building article] ]

The Laing Rail division - operators of Chiltern Railways and London Overground (with MTR Corporation), and holders of a stake in the open-access railway operator Wrexham & Shropshire - was put up for sale by in September 2007. [cite web
title = Chiltern Railways auction attracts strong interest
publisher = Reuters
date = 2007-09-17
url = http://uk.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUKL1789737420070917
accessdate = 2007-09-18
] The division was purchased by German rail operator Deutsche Bahn in January 2008, subject to approval by authorities. [ [http://www.db.de/site/bahn/de/unternehmen/presse/presseinformationen/ubp/p20080121,version=3.html Deutsche Bahn] Press release - 21 January, 2008]

Current operations

John Laing now comprises these divisions:
*Laing Roads
*Equion: for projects in healthcare, defence, education, social housing, policing and criminal justice.

Former operations

Laing Construction

John Laing’s former construction division, Laing Construction, undertook a number of landmark projects including:

The M1 motorway completed in 1959 [ [http://www.iht.org/motorway/m1m10m45.htm Motorway archive] ] , Coventry Cathedral completed in 1962 [ [http://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibition/5:368/4468/4563 National Gallery of Scotland] ] , Clifton Cathedral completed in 1973 [ [http://www.cliftoncathedral.org.uk/about/guide2.html Clifton Cathedral Guide] ] , the Sizewell B nuclear power station completed in 1995 [ [http://www.nce.co.uk/events/british_construction_industry_awards__best_of_the_best.html British Construction Industry Awards] ] , the Second Severn Crossing completed in 1996 [ [http://www.severnbridge.co.uk/legislation.shtml Bridge legislation] ] , the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff completed in 1999 [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/442978.stm Cardiff stadium 'financial disaster'] ] and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital completed in 2001 [ [http://www.cabe.org.uk/default.aspx?contentitemid=1195&aspectid=6 CABE] ] .

References

External links

* [http://www.laing.com/ Official site]
* [http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=LNGO.L Yahoo profile]


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