‘No comment’ on takeover speculation at Shepherd’s contracting businesses

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CONSTRUCTION firm Wates is reported to be weighing up a potential takeover of Yorkshire-based Shepherd Group’s contracting businesses.

According to the Construction Enquirer, preliminary talks have been held about Wates acquiring Shepherd Construction, Shepherd Engineering Services and Shepherd FM.

A spokesman for Shepherd Group, which is one of Yorkshire’s largest family-owned businesses, said: “It is just rumour and speculation and we don’t comment on that.”

A spokesman for Wates, which is a family-owned construction services company, said: “We don’t comment on speculation. As you would expect, we talk to people in the industry about different things all the time.”

Shepherd Group, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary, employs 3,500 staff across the group, including 2,000 people at its operations in Leeds and York.

In December last year, Shepherd Group revealed that its annual revenues fell 8.3 per cent after it took a more selective approach to contracts.

The York-based company reported sales of £686m and flat earnings of £10.1m. Portakabin, the group’s primary source of earnings, achieved a strong performance and the results for Shepherd Engineering Services, Shepherd Homes and Shepherd FM were all encouraging, the company said. In December, David Williams, the group’s chairman, said the medium term prospects for the group were positive.