Recovering Balfour Beatty shines as it rules out Carillion bid

Recovering construction giant Balfour Beatty won’t be turning the tables on its ailing rival Carillion with an opportunistic takeover bid, boss Leo Quinn said on Wednesday.

Carillion, which took a tilt at Balfour three years ago when the builder was facing its own crisis, shocked the market last month with a dire profit warning after £845 million in contract write-offs and mounting debts. Quinn has made solid strides on reviving Balfour.

He doubled first-half pre-tax profits to £22 million and generated  £161 million in cash, helping the shares rise 5%, or 13.5p, to 275.9p. 

The chief executive said “cash doesn’t lie”, adding: “If I wanted to have a loss-making company, I’d sell projects at a loss, I don’t need to buy a company to do that. It’s not of interest to us. We’re focused on our transformation.”

He added: “Carillion have got a good brand, they’ve got good people but this industry is notorious for people stubbing their toe and they come back stronger. 

“Look at our transformation. I think Carillion will work through this. It will probably be a smaller company at the end of it, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

The infrastructure group’s London projects include the revamp of the Lighthouse Building near King’s Cross as well as three major Crossrail contracts.

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