John Laing Infrastructure Fund eyes £1bn Balfour Beatty portfolio

 
Joe Hall
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Balfour Beatty is working on the Crossrail project. (Source: Getty)
Britain’s biggest construction company could be about to break up.
John Laing Infrastructure Fund is weighing up a £1bn bid for Balfour Beatty’s investment arm, according to reports.
The Sunday Times reports that John Laing Infrastructure Fund is considering an offer for Balfour’s portfolio of private finance initiative (PFI) contracts.
The PFI contracts are said to stretch for decades and include student accommodation, roads, hospitals and military housing projects in America.
The portfolio has previously been valued at £1.1bn by Balfour Beatty, with the UK portfolio alone valued at £801m.
If John Laing Infrastructure Fund was to be successful with any bid, it would lead to the further dismantling of the former FTSE 100 construction company which has seen a number of high-profile staff leave in recent months.
Chief financial officer Duncan Magrath announced his impending departure earlier this month while non-executive directors Belinda Richards and Bill Thomas quit the board just nine days ago. The company has had to endure three profit warnings since May.
In October the construction company sold off its design arm Parsons Brinckerhoff to WSP Global for $1.24bn.
In contrast, John Laing Infrastructure Fund has grown from strength to strength. The fund’s investment portfolio rose by five per cent in the first half of 2014 to £805.2m.
Back in August John Laing Infrastructure Fund chairman Paul Lester signalled the company’s intention of making careful targeted acquisitions.
Lester said: “We continue to develop our pipeline of potential acquisitions, while maintaining a disciplined approach to further investment.”

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