Wizard of Oz: Salini Impregilo’s Australian orders soar 700%

Italian infrastructure giant Salini Impregilo said today that the value of orders from Australia now make up 12% of the company’s total work backlog, up from 1.5% previously, a hike of 700%.  

The €5.4bn-turnover group with 35,000 employees has not shied away from big, risky projects, whether Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam or the expansion of the Panama Canal.

Now it is zeroing in on Australia, a young country with a fast-growing population of 24.6 million and a hunger for energy and transport infrastructure. Recent federal budgets include around A$75bn (about €50bn) for rail, roads and other schemes before 2027.

This makes Australia crucial to the company’s growth strategy. Reporting on its 2018 results, it said it had bids in for projects worth over A£10bn.

A big bump came in April when it won a €2.1bn share of a €3.2bn contract for the civil and electromechanical works on Australia’s biggest hydroelectric scheme, Snowy 2.0.

Split 65:35 with Australia’s Clough, this contract sees the JV boosting the generating capacity of the historic Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme from 4.1GW to 6GW by linking the existing Tantangara and Talbingo dams with a series of tunnels, and building a hydroelectric power station with pumping facilities nearly a kilometre underground.

Salini Impregilo has been busy since it first entered Australia in 2013.

In fast-growing Perth, it is building a light rail metro, the Forrestfield‐Airport Link, to connect the city centre and suburbs.

Last year it completed the skytrain bridge and viaduct for Sydney Metro Northwest. Four kilometres long, and with a 270-metre-long curved cable stay bridge, the viaduct is the hallmark of the biggest public transport project in the country.

The branding benefits of this project have been rolling in. It won Project of the Year for 2018 from Engineering News‐Record and, this month, it took an excellence in infrastructure award from the New South Wales branch of the Concrete Institute of Australia.

Getting its feet under the Antipodean table means it must turn its attention to hiring, however.

With that in mind, the company is sponsoring a scholarship for students at the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology and the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology Sydney.

Many global companies are targeting Australia as it pursues its infrastructure plans, and we can expect to see Salini Impregilo’s name pop up more frequently as it does.

Image: Salini Impregilo has won awards for Sydney Metro’s 4km elevated skytrain viaduct linking Bella Vista and Rouse Hill (Sydney Metro)

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