Carillion offers cash sweetener

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CONSTRUCTION firm Carillion said a merger with Balfour Beatty would save the companies over £1.5bn as it offered Balfour Beatty shareholders an additional cash dividend of 8.5p per share if the deal goes ahead.

Balfour Beatty has already rejected two takeover proposals from Carillion, which has until August 21 to make a final offer.

The two construction firms have a combined market capitalisation of £3bn and Carillion said the companies would benefit from streamlining parts of their businesses to save at least £175m a year.

Carillion revealed details of its offer at the request of the Takeover Panel after the construction group held meetings with a number of Balfour Beatty’s major shareholders.

Carillion, which worked on the Olympic Media Centre and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link to St Pancras, recently won the contract to redevelop Liverpool’s Anfield stadium.

The group posted a three per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profit to £75.9m for the six months to June 30 on slightly lower revenue of £1.87bn.

It said it is still targeting revenue growth for the full year, for which its expectations are unchanged.

Chairman Philip Green said: “Carillion continues to perform in line with the board’s expectations, reflecting the benefits of the early actions we took in response to the economic downturn, notably the planned rescaling of our UK construction business, together with our continuing strong work-winning performance.

“Having realigned our businesses to the size of the markets in which we operate, the group is well positioned to benefit from its strong work-winning performance over the last 18 months and from its high-quality pipeline of contract opportunities across our target markets.”