OLS Asia Holdings, the territory's top interior fitting and renovation contractor, is in talks to buy a share of local building services company, Amec Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The move is part of a strategic expansion plan that includes a listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange, a new Malaysian joint venture and possible growth in Indonesia and the Philippines. OLS chairman and managing director Alfred Siu Wing-fung confirmed talks with Amec E&M, a subsidiary of Britain's biggest contractor, were at an advanced stage. Mr Siu said if the deal went ahead the enlarged company would complement the existing services offered by OLS so that it would be able to give clients a full building improvement package. In Hong Kong, OLS is working at the Convention and Exhibition Centre extension on a $180 million fit-out contract and a $109 million deal to fit out Cathay Pacific's Chek Lap Kok headquarters. Earlier jobs included alterations to Windsor House and the Silvercord Centre to create the buildings' cinemas complex and the conversion and upgrading of Evergo House, formerly Fleet House, in Wan Chai. Amec chief executive Peter Mason previously said he would like to sell a stake in the local Amec company to either local or mainland interests as a way of preserving business opportunities. OLS has about 20 per cent of the market for fit-out, alterations and additions work. Mr Siu, using Building Department figures, estimated this to be worth about $4 billion a year. It has achieved consistently high profit margins which Mr Siu attributed to OLS' niche market. Last year profit after taxation topped $63.66 million, a 25 per cent increase over the previous year and equal to a profit margin of 12 to 13 per cent. This compares with an average 2 to 3 per cent for contractors engaged in mainstream building and civil engineering. Mr Siu acknowledged that further sustained growth could only come from expansion into new markets. 'In five years time 50 per cent of turnover will come from Hong Kong [down from 80 per cent now], 30 per cent from China [up from 10 per cent] and 20 per cent from southeast Asia [mainly Malaysia and Indonesia],' Mr Siu said. Cash for growth is expected to come from the stock market float later this year when it will sell between 25 to 30 per cent through NatWest Securities Hong Kong. The firm is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and Nasdaq in the United States. OLS is also in the final stages of discussions to set up a joint venture in Kuala Lumpur with a 'very reputable Malaysian partner', Mr Siu said. OLS has been active in China since 1994 and is one of only 30 international contractors to have a qualification permit, giving it unrestricted opportunities to work.