Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has agreed to sell its facilities management business, which counts NHS Lothian and North Lanarkshire Council among its clients, to French utility GDF Suez for £190 million in cash.
The sale of the division, which operates under the Balfour Beatty WorkPlace brand, would lead to a net cash inflow of more than £150m once debt and pension liabilities are taken into account.
Balfour said the deal, which is subject to clearance from European competition regulators, is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and will enable it to reduce its overall borrowings – net debt at the group currently stands at around £300m.
Chief executive Andrew McNaughton said: “The sale of the UK facilities management business represents an important step in our evolution as we intensify our focus on infrastructure.
“In addition to finding a good new home for the business, its customers and employees, this transaction has achieved good value and will enable us to allocate more resource to target growth sectors and markets in the future.”
Balfour Beatty WorkPlace employs more than 9,000 staff and generated an operating profit of £21m last year, on revenues of £482m.
The business also provides technical and other services to Romec, Balfour’s joint venture with the Royal Mail Group.