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Failed JA Jones buyout leaves BB with £9M bill

BALFOUR BEATTY has not ruled out buying US construction firm JA Jones after a £300M takeover fell through this week leaving the UK contractor with a £9M bill.

A deal to buy the £2bn turnover firm fell through this week because BB was finding it difficult to raise the cash.

BB said it had been planning to raise the funds by making a rights issue on the share market.

But continuing falls in stock markets worldwide have ruled out such a move for the time being.

Three months of negotiations with the liquidators of bankrupt German construction giant Philip Holzmann, which owned the US group, have now fallen through. Balfour Beatty is left with a £9M bill for due diligence investigations into the US company. During the detailed investigation period BB's own share price fell from 230p to 140p.

A Balfour Beatty spokesman said that following assessment of the firm it was convinced that the US company would fit well with its existing business.

'JA Jones has a business mix quite like our own, ' said a spokesman, 'with building, facilities management, some civil engineering and road building and a private finance operation similar to PFI. We already have project management, railways, bridges and roads.'

He said Balfour Beatty did not anticipate that the deal would be 'revivable' but it was not ruled out.

'It is hard to comment because the issue is now in the hands of the German liquidator for Philip Holzmann. We do not know their intentions.'

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