British construction group Balfour Beatty is being considered as a potential takeover target by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), despite chief executive Leo Quinn’s commitment to keeping Balfour an independent company.
The Chinese state-owned firm is reported to be in talks with the aim of making an offer for the company, which is in the middle of a group-wide turnaround.
Balfour issued five profit warnings in 2014, as well as a further warning in January of this year. In September last year the group appointed auditor KPMG to conduct an independent review of its Construction Services UK business. Meanwhile, merger talks with rival building group Carillion fell apart in July last year.
Speaking to City A.M. when his appointment was announced last September, Quinn brushed off the question of another possible tie-up with Carillion, or other firms.
“My stance is no different to that of the board. And if we do our jobs correctly, I’m sure we will stay an independent company,” he said.
Quinn joined Balfour at the beginning of this year, and immediately began making changes to the company, with the aim of simplifying the operation. In May, analysts at Numis said that although it is “early days” under the leadership of Quinn, “progress to date is impressive and... the scope for recovery is significant”.
Balfour declined to comment yesterday.