Nuclear energy, in particular, would be a focus area for the group going forward, as nuclear was expected to become a primary source of power in South Africa and in the rest of the world.
Bruce noted that it was expected that a number of new nuclear plants would be constructed globally over the next 50 years, with South Africa expected to be one of the largest users of nuclear energy in future.
The group, working in a joint venture (JV) with TSX-listed SNC-Lavalin, was already participating in the nuclear energy sector.
Last month, the JV was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction management contract for the pebble-bed modular reactor demonstration plant project at Koeberg, near Cape Town.
Further, Bruce expected State-owned power utility Eskom’s Nuclear 1 project to further benefit the group if it was “able to secure that project”.
Bruce explained that M&R would, from a contractor point of view, not participate in the international nuclear energy arena in the short term, with the “key issue” being South Africa’s energy requirements.
However, he noted, “the indigenisation of capacity around manufacturing would ultimately generate an export market”.
Bruce added that the South African Power Initiative and the Competitive Supplier Develop-ment Programme, aimed at the indigenisation of the fabrication and manufacture of key systems and components for the energy sector, were a further opportunity for growth.
Meanwhile, the group was also continuing to work on thermal energy power plants in South Africa, such as the Medupi and Kusile power plants.
Investment in commercially orientated infrastructure and energy systems in the Middle East was being driven by free cash flow from oil and gas revenues. This was another opportune market for M&R.
Further, the company held a 56% stake in Australian com- pany Clough, which focused on offshore and coastal upstream oil and gas infrastructure.
M&R expected to increase its share in Clough to 60% by December 2009 and expected the company to continue being successful in the liquefied natural gas market in Australia.
The company had an order book of A$1,2-billion as at June 30, 2008, compared with A$810-mil- lion in 2007.
Meanwhile, Bruce commented that the group “needs new impetus” in terms of improving its safety record, specifically in South Africa, where eight of its contract workers had died on May 1 at Gold Fields’ South Deep mine.
To watch a video in which Murray & Roberts CEO Brian Bruce discusses the opportunities in the nuclear energy sector, click here.