If there is a high profile building project in Britain, it is a fair bet that Essex-based O’Rourke may have had a hand in it. The company laid the foundations for the Millennium Dome, and played a part in the renovation of the Royal Opera House and the construction of the £64m new Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. It is currently at work on the £38m Citigroup tower in Canary Wharf and on Portcullis House, the £250m parliamentary office block next to Big Ben. Such projects have driven profits up by 57% pa, from £2m in 1996 to £7.9m in 1999, with sales increasing by 52% pa in the same period to reach £188.5m. Chairman and chief executive Ray O’Rourke, who founded the business in 1978 with his brother Des, attributes the increase in profits primarily to turnover growth. But he also says that a specialisation in pre-cast concrete, allowing production to be centralised, has cut labour costs because concrete does not have to be mixed on site.
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