Laing O’Rourke is to sell its Australian business to focus on growth in the UK and Europe.
Chairman Ray O’Rourke said the Dartford-based construction giant had received a number of offers for its interests Down Under.
Laing O’Rourke’s Australian business had an order book of Au$2.6bn (£1.25bn) in March 2013 and employed more than 4,000 people. The Australian hub posted managed revenue of Au$2.7bn for 2014/15, and post-tax profit of Au$142M.
Ray O’Rourke said a review of the group’s portfolio had been carried out towards the end of 2015.
“This review was partially triggered following unsolicited approaches from a number of parties expressing interest in acquiring parts of our business, including our very successful Australian business,” he said.
“This is reflective of both the strength and attractiveness of this element of the group which, having performed well in recent years, is now strongly positioned in the emerging infrastructure market with blue-chip clients, a solid pipeline, a talented leadership team and great people.”
O’Rourke added that the company’s European business “and the UK in particular” was well placed for strong growth.
“If we are to seize these growth opportunities, further UK investments will be required especially in areas that promote our competitiveness and the attractiveness of our offering to clients,” he said.
“Consequently the group and the European business will focus on streamlining its organisation and align its structures, processes and overheads to capture the full operational efficiencies and cost benefits which will flow from the current and future investments in off-site build and advanced digital engineering.”
Meanwhile Laing O’Rourke appointed former Balfour Beatty chief Chris Millard to lead its Engineering Excellence Group.
Group technical director Paul Westbury said: “Chris possesses a unique mix of cross-sector skills and experience that strongly supports our drive to become an engineering enterprise – through engineering, commercial and operational leadership, the acceleration of design for manufacture and assembly, and our off-site manufacturing agenda.”