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British Industrial History

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John Laing Group

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John Laing Group plc is a developer and operator of privately financed, public sector infrastructure projects

See John Laing and Son

1953 John Laing & Sons (Holdings) Ltd was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in January 1953. 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 around 10,000, and every site had a quality supervisor.

1957 John William Laing retired

1964 Acquired Holloway Brothers (London)

Under William Kirby Laing and James Maurice Laing, the company continued to expand, winning contracts for power stations and diversifying into road construction while continuing to build houses.

1978 John Laing and Son was reconstructed as John Laing Ltd, with separation of Properties and Construction; the construction of houses for sale was put into a new subsidiary Laing Homes. Other domestic activities included Laingfreight, Beechdale Engineering and Victor Cabs (acquired in 1978), Thermalite, Lytag and SBD Construction Products[1]

1981 The parent company was registered as John Laing plc.

1985 Martin Laing, of the sixth generation of the founding family, became chairman. He determined that the company 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.

1998 As the company celebrated its 150th anniversary, it faced falling profits caused by cost overruns on the Cardiff Millennium Stadium project and continuing problems within its construction division, related to competition and overcapacity.

The business expanded rapidly in the late 1990s

1999 Purchased a controlling interest in the Chiltern Rail franchise and by 2002 had structured itself into two main divisions - Homes and Investments.

By 2001 Laing's construction business had been making significant losses, in part due to additional costs on the Cardiff Millennium Stadium project.

2001 R. O'Rourke bought Laing Construction from the John Laing Group for £1. The name of that company was changed to Laing O'Rourke. John Laing focused instead on its PPP / PFI activities.

For the year ended 31 December 2001 its turnover was in excess of £1 billion. Following significant losses on certain construction contracts (particularly the Cardiff Millennium Stadium) the company cut 800 jobs.

2002 Sir Martin Laing retired and Bill Forrester took over as executive chairman. For the first time in its history Laing did not have a member of the founding family at the head of the company.

2002 Laing's property developments divisions were sold to Kier Group, and its house building arm was sold to George Wimpey.

In 2003 its affordable housing division was sold in a management buy-out.

In December 2006 John Laing plc was acquired by the private equity arm of Henderson Group.

2007 September. 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 and the division was purchased by German rail operator Deutsche Bahn in January 2008.

In June 2008 John Laing formed a consortium with Hitachi and Barclays Private Equity called Agility Trains to bid for the contract to design, manufacture, and maintain a fleet of long-distance trains for the Intercity Express Programme. The bid was successful and the contract was awarded to the consortium on the 12 February 2009.

2010 The company established the John Laing Infrastructure Fund, a £270 million public launch.

Then in October 2013 the company sold its facilities management business to Carillion.

Olivier Brousse was appointed as Chief Executive in March 2014.

The John Laing Environmental Fund was established in 2014 in a £174 million public launch.

In February 2015 the John Laing Group plc was listed on the London Stock Exchange.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1978 annual report