Amec lands major contract in Iraq

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The Independent Online

A British company has finally won a major reconstruction contract in Iraq, with Amec securing half of a $500m (£278m) electricity deal.

Shares in Amec, Britain's biggest engineering group, closed up 5 per cent on the news that its joint venture with the US player, Fluor, had won the contract. The news will come as a relief to the British business community, which expressed concern that UK companies were losing out to US competitors in Iraq rebuilding work. The issue is also believed to be of concern to ministers, and the Government yesterday welcomed the Amec announcement.

Brian Wilson, Britain's special representative for trade and reconstruction in Iraq, said patience had paid off. "This is extremely good news for Amec, British industry and particularly for the Iraqis, who very much want to see the involvement of British companies in the reconstruction process," he said.

Mr Wilson added that British companies would fare better once Iraqis controlled the decisions. "I have no doubt that as decision-making moves towards the Iraqis themselves, the British role will continue to expand," he said.

Two major contracts were awarded to international bidders by the Pentagon late on Thursday. The other contract, for which the FluorAmec joint venture had not bid, went to a consortium led by Washington International - a $600m deal to repair and construct water infrastructure in Iraq.

Sir Peter Mason, Amec's chief executive, said: "We are delighted ... While we and Fluor are already on the ground with around 2,000 people near Baghdad, this is a much more sizeable piece of work across the whole of Iraq and confirms our important role in the reconstruction of the country."

The work won by FluorAmec is to rebuild power generation capacity across Iraq.