Bouygues is establishing a new construction arm in Australia with senior UK director Ian Gunter set to lead the Sydney-based office from September.
The Bouygues UK business development director told Construction News the new firm will look at potential mergers to establish a foothold in the Australian construction market.
Mr Gunter said he foresees recruiting local staff primarily but would not rule out the possibility of staff being recruited from the UK and France.
He added the venture would be modelled on Bouygues’ Hong Kong business Dragages, which has worked on projects as diverse as the Tsing Yi viaduct and Marriott Sky City Hotel.
He said: “We have already got a presence in Australia, predominantly on the civil engineering side, but we need to be more present on building and PPP projects.
“The pipeline of PPP projects is not as strong there as it was in the UK’s heyday but there are healthcare PPPs and public and social infrastructure works like the Sydney Convention Centre being built.”
He added: “The experience we have gained elsewhere will absolutely be relevant [for winning work] and the fact that we have experience in major mixed-use schemes is a plus.”
Bouygues subsidiary Bouygues Travaux Publics has already worked on Australian contracts such as the Sydney Airport Link and Brisbane’s Go Between Bridge while its civils works division VSL also has a base in Australia.
Mr Gunter will be meeting with Australian contractors as he undergoes a fact-finding mission and the small team already based in Sydney is exploring the market for work.
“It is too early to say exactly what we will be getting into but we are going to be working with partners and the plan is to meet with other contractors and see what we can bring to the table.
“We will be picking the brains of our civils team but in the next month or two we will start talking to potential partners and consultants.”
The new venture, provisionally titled Bouygues Australia, could be moved to Melbourne or further afield depending on its order book.
Mr Gunter confirmed the firm’s civil side is already looking at winning work as part of a multibillion rebuilding programme for Queensland following its devastating floods last year.