Balfour rejects fresh proposal from Carillion

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Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has rebuffed a second proposal for a £3 billion merger with rival Carillion, telling investors that the deal would bring “significant risks”.

At the end of last month, Balfour called off talks over a tie-up with Carillion amid a row over the planned sale of a subsidiary.

Carillion made a “wholly unexpected” decision to only press ahead with a tie-up if Balfour’s Parsons Brinckerhoff consulting arm remained part of the enlarged entity.

Balfour said today that the sale process of Parsons Brinckerhoff is “well advanced” and it plans to return £200 million to shareholders following the disposal.

The group also released its half-year results two days ahead of schedule. The figures show it suffered a 53 per cent drop in underlying pre-tax profits to £22m for the six months to 27 June amid a slump in its mechanical and electrical engineering division.

Executive chairman Steve Marshall said the process of recruiting a new chief executive was “well underway”. Previous boss Andrew McNaughton quit in May following a profit warning.