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Balfour Beatty seeks more takeovers

Balfour Beatty’s growth strategy will continue to focus on acquisition opportunities, chief operating officer Andrew McNaughton said last week.

McNaughton said that the firm had grown in the past through acquisitions and there was no reason to change policy.

In particular, he said that expansion in emerging markets was unlikely to be by organic growth but rather through “strategic partners or acquisitions”.

He added that the acquisition of consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff in September 2009 had helped the firm’s move from a focus on the UK building market to international markets and economic infrastructure.

“We knew construction was cyclical,” said McNaughton, adding that “the day before we bought Parsons Brinckerhoff we were seriously based in six to eight countries. The day after that we were in 80 countries”.
Results for the year to 31 December 2011 showed an underlying increase in pretax profit of 9%. Balfour Beatty also said it had made “good progress” with its recently established infrastructure funds management business.

McNaughton said that the firm had a “capability” and could position itself in this market in a way that was different from other firms. “We come not from a finance background but from an infrastructure skills business,” he said.

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