Bilfinger swallows up GVA

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Bilfinger said 99 per cent of shareholders in GVA Grimley had accepted its purchase offer, paving the way for the German engineering and services giant to completely acquire the privately-owned UK real estate group.

Bilfinger has been on a buying spree since 2011, spending about 800m euros on two dozen companies to reduces its dependence on the construction market, which is vulnerable to hefty economic swings and price wars.

The GVA deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, boosts Bilfinger’s portfolio in the UK and now includes complex real-estate consulting and management services.

At the end of 2013, Bilfinger acquired facility services provider Europa Support Services.

With the two acquisitions, Bilfinger increases the annual turnover of its building and facilities business segment in the UK from 35m in 2013 to about 400m.

Sources said in May the terms valued GVA at about £150m. GVA generated a turnover of £147.3m in the year to the end of April, up from £140.4m in the previous year.

It has 12 offices in the UK, including one in Leeds.

Rob Bould, chief executive of GVA, said: “Obviously we’re delighted with the outcome of the vote. There can be no other clearer indication that this is what we as a collective feel is the best cause of action to ensure GVA’s future growth and prosperity.

“This latest chapter in our 200-year history marks a real milestone and game-changer for GVA.

“I have no doubt that our partnering with Bilfinger Real Estate will transform our drive for major growth and significantly strengthen our ambitions to compete with our largest competitors, on the world stage.”

Bilfinger has a turnover of around 8.5bn euros.