Balfour Beatty in £190m sell-off

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Olympic stadium

A services giant which maintains the London Olympics park and helps run power stations is being sold to French energy giant GDF Suez in a move affecting more than 9,000 staff.

Engineer Balfour Beatty is selling its facilities management arm to GDF Suez for £190 million to focus on major infrastructure projects.


The business, known as Balfour Beatty WorkPlace, has big contracts in the UK with organisations and companies including the Department for Work and Pensions, Royal Mail, Sainsbury's and the NHS.

It earned operating profits of £21 million on revenues of £482 million last year and has a 10-year contract to run services and facilities at the 250-acre Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, home to last year's Games.
It also won a five-year deal from EDF Energy earlier this year to help maintain West Burton B, a new gas power station in Nottinghamshire.

Balfour boss Andrew McNaughton said the sale was an "important step in our evolution as we intensify our focus on infrastructure".

More than 9,000 staff across the UK will transfer to GDF Suez Energy Services and work under its Cofely brand .

It will merge with GDF's energy services arm, which employs 2,200 people in the UK and provides similar services at 13,000 sites, working with organisations including Avon and Somerset Police and London's Victoria & Albert Museum.

The enlarged business will generate revenues of around £800 million.

A spokeswoman for GDF said it does not plan to cut any jobs.

"The target of the deal is to develop the business, so if you develop the business you maintain the employment," she said.

The business is expected to continue providing services to Balfour's assets in the UK and work with the group on future projects.

Jerome Tolot, chief executive of GDF Suez Energy Services, said: "This acquisition will consolidate the group's significant European position in energy and facilities services and will also create a strong position for GDF Suez in the UK."

The deal is expected to complete by the end of the year. Balfour will use the proceeds to cut debt and fund investments.

Globally, GDF's energy services business has more than 78,000 staff in more than 30 countries and focuses on energy efficiency and environmental services.

The wider GDF group is the world's biggest supplier of non-nuclear power, employing more than 138,000 staff.

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