BALFOUR BEATTY last month emerged as a rival bidder for contractor Mowlem after Carillion made a £291M cash and shares takeover bid.
The contractor confirmed it had initially approached Mowlem before Carillion announced its bid and was understood to be preparing a rival offer that would consolidate its position as Britain's largest construction business with a turnover of £6.8bn.
A successful bid from Carillion, which last year generated a turnover of £1.99bn, would create the UK's third largest construction group with a turnover of £4bn.
As GE went to press Balfour Beatty was understood to be meeting Mowlem officials and examining documents as part of a due diligence exercise before deciding whether to make a formal offer.
Balfour B eatty said Mowlem was attractive because of its regional and disciplinary fit. A takeover would give the company a stronger presence in the regional building markets, complementing the recent acquisition of south east contractor Maunsell.
Balfour Beatty added that Mowlem's defence and accommodation project expertise could complement its own work in health, education and transport.
Carillion revealed its interest in Mowlem in November, citing a good fi with Mowlem's engineering and environmental services divisions (GE December 05).
Shares in Mowlem were valued at 205p after Carillion revealed its interest and Mowlem directors agreed to recommend the offer. However, the shares surged to 215p on news of Balfour Beatty's interest.