Balfour Beatty named preferred bidder for £330m university deal

Suzie Neuwirth
INFRASTRUCTURE group Balfour Beatty yesterday said it has been appointed as the preferred bidder for a contract with the University of West Florida, valued at £330m.

The development contract, which comprises a number of projects including student accommodation, a football stadium and a senior living community for retired faculty, will be delivered in phases over a 10-year period. The first phase is expected to be completed in 2014.

“We have identified the student accommodation market as a key growth area and an effective route to the diversification of our business,” said chief executive Andrew McNaughton.

“Investment in student accommodation is expected to continue over the next few years on both sides of the Atlantic, with $1bn (£652m) of new projects coming to market in the US and a pipeline of around £1bn of new projects anticipated in the UK.”

The FTSE 250-listed firm has issued two profit warnings this year and announced in June that it was closing three UK offices. However, Balfour has announced a stream of new contracts in recent months, including a £200m deal with Herefordshire Council. Shares closed 0.2 per cent lower at 251.40p.