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Skanska to boost Kvaerner private finance work

KVAERNER CONSTRUCTION is to invest in privately financed infrastructure again after being taken over this week by Swedish contracting giant Skanska.

Kvaerner sold its private infrastructure investments business to Macquarie Bank last year so it could concentrate on contracting.

Deputy chief executive Robert Wallace said recently that Kvaerner's reputation was strong enough for it to win privately financed work without having to invest (NCE last week).

But after the deal was announced, Skanska said it planned to use the £359M takeover to boost its involvement in private finance initiative projects in Britain.

'This is a very interesting sector which we want to pursue, ' said head of Skanska Europe Anders Karlsson. The Swedish group already holds stakes in the £50M Bridgend prison and London's £75M Kings College Hospital.

Skanska agreed to buy Kvaerner Construction after the Norwegian group offered to sell.

It will allow Kvaerner to concentrate on its oil and gas contracting business. Once the deal is complete, Kvaerner Construction will be renamed Skanska.

Karlsson said the takeover would not affect its agreement to bid with Costain on projects worth more than £20M. Skanska has a 7% stake in Costain, with an option to raise it to 40%. It decided against increasing its Costain stake in favour of buying Kvaerner Construction- a much bigger contractor.

'In terms of workload Costain is a smaller and more specialised company, ' said Karlsson.


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