22nd July 2011
Companies from the West Midlands have smashed through the £500 million barrier in the race to win contracts for the 2012 Olympics.
Latest figures show firms from the region have amassed £515 million worth of deals to supply to the games – more than any other region outside the South east of the country.
A total of 303 firms from the region have won tenders to supply London 2012 from 57 of the 59 parliamentary constituencies in the West Midlands.
The contracts range from Wolverhampton-based Carillion, which landed a nine-figure deal to build the media centre, to Birmingham firm Acme whistles, which will supply whistles for Olympic officials.
Jim Johnston, business manager of the 2012 Games at Advantage West Midlands, said there could be more small deals to come, but a £400 million target had already been passed.
He said: “The West Midlands business community has really done well and stepped up to the plate. “In the early days it was largely construction contracts – companies like Carillion which is building the International Media Centre which is being handed over next week, and that is hundreds of millions of pounds alone. Then there is Zaun Fencing which has put up the perimeter fence around the park and has since won six or seven other contracts.”
He added: “They are the bigger contracts, but then there are smaller ones like Acme Whistles, who are supplying the officials.”
In all, 57 of the 59 parliamentary constituencies in the West Midlands have won contracts – every one aside from Hodge Hill and Stone in Staffordshire.
Latest figures showed that the region accounted for eight per cent of deals for the London Games – making it the fourth largest supplier out of the nine English regions.
But the geographical breakdown of contract winners is skewed strongly towards the capital and the South-east – with London itself taking 53 per cent of contracts and the South-east 16 per cent, according to figures obtained using the Freedom of Information Act from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).
Other companies from the region to have won deals are Elements Europe, from Oswestry, which is making bathroom blocks for the Olympic Village, while Johnsons Coach & Bus, from Henley in Arden, is supplying coaches for the games.
Mr Johnston added: “The one area that the region is doing really well in is merchandising. One example is the mascot Wenlock, named after Much Wenlock in Shropshire, and purely by coincidence that is being manufactured in Shropshire.
“And Wedgwood is making commemorative plates and there is a company called Merrythought which is making commemorative teddy bears for the games.
“And in Newcastle-under-Lyme there is a company called Jan Constantine which has won the home textiles merchandise, so it will be making things like cushions with the Olympic logo.”
Mr Johnston said there would still be opportunities for firms to profit after the games – firstly through the hundreds of millions of pounds that will be spent on converting Olympic buildings for future use.
He said there will also be export opportunities – following in the footsteps of Australian firms which have continued to profit following the Olympics in Sydney in 2000.
He added: “After the Sydney games companies were very good at creating linkages to help with export sales. “They were very active in the Athens and Beijing Olympics, so British companies will have an opportunity to move on and supply the rest of the world – starting with Russia, where the Winter Olympics will be held in 2014 and Brazil, which will host the World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016.”
Coventry and Warwickshire has won 80 contracts, with more likely in the future, after businesses registered through the Compete For portal – the system by which organisations can apply for 2012 tender opportunities.
Councillor Linda Bigham, Coventry City Council cabinet member for city development, said: “We have been saying for a long time that the benefits of London 2012 would reach far beyond the borders of the capital city and these business successes are real evidence of this.”
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Opportunities such as this do not arise very often, so we were determined to support businesses in the region however we could when it came to applying for London 2012-related contracts.”