Amec firmly in Europe with pounds 40m Spie buy

Amec, the British construction group, yesterday took a big step into Europe by buying control of its French rival, Spie Batignolles, in partnership with a pounds 40m management and employee buyout.

The combined group will be the sixth-largest contractor in Europe with turnover of pounds 4.7bn and 48,000 employees.

Initially, Amec is paying pounds 20m-pounds 23m for a stake of between 40 and 48.6 per cent in Spie with the remainder of the shares acquired by management and employees. But it has an option in six years to take full control by buying out the other shareholders.

Amec and the Spie employees will pay the owners of the business, Schneider, pounds 40m in cash. Spie has also agreed to buy out Schneider's 50 per cent stake in the electrical services business Spie Trindel for pounds 75m.

The deal follows Kvaerner of Norway's unsuccessful bid for Amec and Amec's failure to merge with fellow UK contractor, MacAlpine.

Peter Mason, chief executive of Amec, said: "Europe is the largest construction market in the world and it is beginning to consolidate. In the long term there will only be half-a-dozen contractors left in Europe. If we don't do something we will be left behind and there won't be a UK player in that premier league."

Amec employs 20,000 and with turnover of pounds 2.7bn is a big player in the oil and gas and rail markets and building and civil engineering.

Spie, one of the 10-strong consortium that built the Channel Tunnel, is France's fifth-biggest contractor specialising in electrical and civil engineering construction and pipe laying. It has 28,000 employees and sales of pounds 2bn a year.

In recent years, Spie's trading performance has been affected by a number of problem contracts and its exposure to property development. Last year it made pre-tax profits of pounds 4m and this year Amec said it would be profitable at the trading level.

But the property division, together with liabilities relating to a number of construction contracts and Spie's North American interests are being retained by Schneider. Spie has net cash of Fr1.2bn (pounds 137m).

Amec said the acquisition would give it greater access to European and international markets, particularly France where construction output is forecast to grow by 0.4 per cent in 1997 after several years of decline.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - City, London

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence